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Quebec floods: Waterlogged cars are a writeoff, government says

The Gazette logo The Gazette 2017-05-17 Jason Magder, Montreal Gazette
050917-0509_city_flood_north_shore-234688289-0509_city_flood_north_shore-W.jpg: Quebec floods: Waterlogged cars are a writeoff, government says © John Mahoney Quebec floods: Waterlogged cars are a writeoff, government says

The Quebec government is warning the thousands of people returning home not to start their cars if they have been flooded.

There were many images of cars flooded on main arteries last week, including on Pierrefonds Blvd. and René Émard St., and the government says those cars are no longer safe to drive, either for the public at large or for those driving them.

“At no point should you try to start a flooded car,” says an information sheet on the Quebec government’s website dedicated to flooding.

This applies to all road vehicles and recreational vehicles, like ATVs and motorcycles, as well as RVs and trailers, according to the Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec. The exception is heavy machinery like farm tractors and snow blowers.  

The information sheet said the car could be dangerous because it could malfunction on the road. It could also cause health problems because of mould growth.

While nearly every vehicle will be considered a total loss, there are some exceptions, like if the vehicle was made in Quebec and satisfies several other criteria spelled out in the information sheet.

Health advice for people returning home

In the meantime, Montreal’s director of public health had some advice for people going back to their homes: wear boots, gloves and masks when cleaning up, and don’t come into contact with water from the flood.

“Avoid coming in direct contact with it or with objects that have been exposed to this water,” the department said in a statement. “If you do, you may develop skin irritations or infections as well as gastroenteritis.”

The department also recommends anyone who has been flooded to get a decontamination specialist into their homes to deal with mould.

The department said electrical panels should be checked by electricians before people return home.

The public health department will send representatives to information sessions organized by the boroughs to answer questions in the coming days. 

Quebec Bar association offering free advice 

The Barreau du Québec has lawyers standing by to offer advice to those who have been flooded. They can call 1-844-954-3411 to get in touch with a lawyer who can tell them their rights.

The Bar association also has an information sheet available to consult on its website.

Latest numbers

As of Monday night, 104 cities and towns had some degree of flooding, and there were 3,499 evacuees, a number that is declining. A total of 4,085 homes were still flooded.

Evacuees in Montreal area

Pierrefonds—Roxboro: 290
Ahuntsic—Cartierville: 129
Île-Mercier: 61
Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue: 40
Île-Bizard—Sainte-Geneviève: 23

jmagder@postmedia.com

Twitter.com/JasonMagder

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