How To Prepare For A Flood Disaster

| September 4, 2013 |

How To Prepare For A Flood

We all know that there are communities in the United States that should have the expectation that floods will impact their way of life, at one stage or another. Whether you have this expectation or not, floods do happen, and it’s important to be ready for when they do.

Even if you live in the desert, you’ll find washes and drainage channels because there is such a thing as a “flash flood,” and you could find yourself wishing that you had some survival skills.

Take a look at these tips as your first step in preparing for a flood.

1. Get Flood Insurance

You might expect that it would be, but your home insurance does not protect against floods. If you neglected some form of maintenance on your home (such as a toilet or a pipe) and your home flooded from that, your home would be protected, but any outside force that floods your home is considered an “Act of God” and your homeowner’s insurance will not pay. Typically homeowners who have flood insurance pay annually, and depending on the area in which you live, it’s a manageable sum. Overall, it’s worth the investment in case something happens and you’re paying multitudes just to get your home back to how it was.

2. Free Sandbags

The fire department typically has sandbags available for flood preparation –and these bags are free. It doesn’t matter what area you live in, the fire department has planned for all possible scenarios and you can get a number of them just by showing up at your local fire station and requesting them. If it’s currently raining, the fire department may offer to help you fill and place the bags.

3. Have an Emergency Kit Ready

If your house floods, you may have little time to get out your essentials, so it’s best to have an emergency kit packed. Make sure you’ve packed clothing, granola bars, water, batteries, flashlights, a phone charger, and your important paperwork. You also may want to pack a book or a magazine and a first aid kit. You never really know what to plan for, but plan for enough to get you through one day until you can return to your home or find refuge somewhere else.

4. Listen Up

During a storm, make sure you have access to the Weather Channel on your television or to the local weather radio station. It’s important to be aware of what is going on in your community. By listening to the radio or watching on TV, you can be alerted if your area is being evacuated. If it comes down to evacuation, staying tuned will allow you to know where to go and how many people to expect. If your area isn’t affected but another neighborhood in your area is, you can be available to help people you know. Often the Red Cross is available during these times, but homeowners would rather stay with friends than stay at a facility.

5. Driving and Walking              

If your area is flooding and you’re evacuating the area, make sure that you’re not driving through or walking in water that is 6 inches or deeper. If you’re driving in water that is that deep or deeper, your engine may stall and you’ll be stranded. If you’re walking in water that is that deep or deeper, you may not be able to see what is under water and you may trip or fall, injuring yourself and possibly unable to walk much farther.

6. Be Cautious of Flood Water

If you have experienced a massive flood, be aware of the water. First of all, electric cords may have been severed, and live wires may be dipped in the water, conducting electricity. Electrocution may happen, so only return to water in areas that have been declared safe. Another hazard of undeclared flood water includes toxins that may be present in the water, such as sewage, gasoline, or other contaminants. These are dangerous to your health and therefore treat all water as contaminated unless otherwise declared safe. Do not drink from any water that hasn’t likewise been declared safe.

7. Watch Out for Structural Damage

Water can destroy buildings. Water and mud can turn drywall into dense putty. Water can soak wooden beams and make them unreliable. To this end, do not enter any structures that haven’t been declared safe. The foundation of the building could be compromised and the building could have withstood structural damage that may not even be visual. Keep yourself safe by remaining out of these structures as they could collapse with you inside.


8. Formulate a Plan

While experts suggest you formulate an emergency plan before emergency strikes, revise your plan after you experience other emergencies. How did your plan work for this scenario? Would you change anything about the way you evacuated or handled the flood? Did all of your family members evacuate together or were there family members unaccounted for? Ask yourself how the plan worked out and what methods could be revised for the next emergency, should an emergency arise. Make sure everyone in your family is aware of the revised plan to prevent the miscommunication of differing plans.

9. Help Others

If your home was flooded, chances are that your neighbors’ homes were flooded, too. Once you get everything squared away at your own residence and with your own family, see if you can help any of your neighbors. Not only will this allow them to get them back up on their feet, but it will allow you to make something positive out of this tragedy. While you might have to work harder than you normally would, at the end of the day, you’ll feel good about helping someone else in need –especially someone who is going through the same thing that you are going through.

Emergencies happen regardless of whether you’re ready for them. Rest assured, if you take no precautions toward something like a flood, you will be the least ready for it. Perhaps the most important things you could do include getting flood insurance now, and packing an emergency pack. The other things may come naturally to you or you may be reminded of these tips when disaster strikes.

Category: How To Guides, Safety & Security

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