Useful Tips to Prepare for Flooding
Flooding occurs throughout the US, with many lives being lost and damages running into billions of dollars. Following are some useful tips to prepare you, which can significantly reduce the dangers and damages posed by flooding.
Survival tips for before a flood
Some things you can do before a flood occurs, are:
- Prepare your home in advance by erecting barriers such as floodwalls and beams for example, to stop the water from coming into your home.
- Seal your basement with waterproofing material.
- Always keep your drains and gutters free from leaves and other debris.
- If the area you live in is prone to flooding, make sure to raise any switches, sockets, electric panels, fuel tanks and furnaces.
- Remember that homeowner's insurance doesn't normally cover flood losses, so make sure to take out proper flood insurance for your home. Most insurance agencies offer flood insurance.
- Read the free American Red Cross Flood Safety Checklist and use it to prepare yourself as well as your home.
- Make sure to have necessary items handy, including a home emergency kit and a 72-hour bag or "bug out bag" with related items for your car. Take any important documents with you in the event that you are forced to evacuate.
Survival tips for during a flood
There are several things you can do just before and during a flood that can significantly reduce the danger to lives and damage to your home.
- Listen to all news casts for information about weather that could result in flooding.
- If you hear warnings of flash floods, evacuate immediately and get to higher ground. Flash floods happen very fast, so don't waste any time!
- Turn off valves and main utilities if emergency officials have instructed you to do so.
- Do NOT try to operate or touch ANYTHING electrical that is standing in water.
- If possible, avoid having contact with flood water, since it could be contaminated with chemicals like diesel, oil, or gasoline, harmful microbes, or raw sewage.
- Avoid walking through moving water – moving water just six inches deep can make a person fall and two feet of moving water is strong enough to move a light truck or car.
- If it is safe to do so, leave immediately if a mandatory evacuation order has been issued.
Survival tips for after a flood
There are important steps to take after a flood, including:
- Return home only after the authorities have announced that it is safe to do so.
- Use only a flashlight when entering your home and the power is still out, since there might be flammable materials present.
- Listen continuously for updates on the radio and other media sources.
- Do not enter any structures that are still surrounded by water.
- Damaged septic and sewage systems are extremely dangerous for humans, so make sure that these are repaired as soon as possible.
- Don't go near any power lines that have come down and report these to the authorities immediately.
- Any items that have been in contact with flood waters should be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected. Throw out any articles that cannot be cleaned.
- Foods, beverages or tobacco products that have been in contact with flood water should be discarded since they are more than likely contaminated.
Floods can be an overwhelming challenge, but you can protect your life and property with the correct preparations and know-how.