The floodwaters in northern Ontario are receding, and a handful of families have managed to survive in their homes by sealing their doors and using plastic bags and refrigerators to keep the inside dry.
Article Continued BelowThe Globe and Mail’s Emily Nachminoff reports from St. John’s on what to do when you find yourself trapped in floodwaters.
“We’ve been trying to find somewhere safe, so I’ve been using the bag as a blanket,” said Emily Natt, a 27-year-old mother of three who lives in St. Joseph, Ont.
She said she and her family had left their home in the St. Mary’s area and were now searching for somewhere to stay, as the river has receded into the surrounding area.
“We were thinking about a tent, but we just don’t have that kind of money, so we’re just going to be using the plastic bag,” she said.
Emily Nachtmann lives in the same neighbourhood as the Nattmans.
The family has been in St Joseph for about a month.
They’ve been looking for somewhere safe to stay because of the rising flood waters.
“I think we need to take a look at where we are and where we’re going,” Emily said.
The Nattms are in a rental home on the St Joseph River.
“I’m going to start using the blanket, so the flood water doesn’t come up in the kitchen,” she added.
The family is planning to use the bag for shelter, because it will be much more effective at keeping the inside of the house dry.
“You can really get the moisture out,” Emily explained.
Emily said she’s used the plastic bags for many years, and was happy to see the family using them.
“It’s really nice to have something to protect us from the elements, so hopefully that’s the way to go.”
“We’re definitely going to take it for a second look at it,” she concluded.
Emily’s sister, Lisa Nachtman, is one of the NATTs who has been looking into using the bags to protect herself and her three children from flooding.
Lisa said she was inspired to look into using them after her daughter, who was five years old at the time, drowned in her bathtub.
“There’s nothing like a wet blanket to keep you dry, especially in the wintertime,” she explained.
“It’s definitely a good idea to put your house in a place that you can be dry and not have to worry about getting wet, but also not have the rain fall,” Lisa said.
“We don’t want to be stuck here in our basement or in our kitchen,” Lisa added.
Lisa said that while the Natts do have a lot of cash, it’s a luxury.
“Even if you do have the money, we don’t really have the time to go out to a shop and buy a new carpet.
We don’t get that luxury.
So that’s where we need a little bit of help,” she continued.
Lisa and her sister are now considering using the same waterproof blanket for their children’s bedrooms and bathroom.
“In winter, you really want to have a layer of clothing to keep everything dry.
But when you’re going to have to go outside and you don’t need that layer of clothes, I think we could use it,” Lisa explained.
Lisa’s family has also been using plastic bag-type storage containers for storing the belongings of the children and their siblings, as well as food and baby supplies.
Lisa said that the plastic-wrapped bags provide a good solution to keeping everything safe in the event of a flood.
“You can use plastic bags as a kind of blanket,” Lisa noted.
“A little bit like a rain blanket, you can put it over your head and stuff it in the bag, or you can take it outside and put it inside the bag.”
If you have a little water, it just keeps things going.
“Lisa said the family has not had any problems with flooding in their St Joseph neighbourhood.