Even if you’re a swimming enthusiast, dealing with a flash flood is no day at the beach. In fact, the results can be catastrophic.
Floods can happen any time of year in any part of the country. However, some areas are more prone to flooding, like coastal areas during hurricane season or any low lying land next to a body of water during a long storm or heavy rain season.
Flood Preparation Tips to Keep You Safe
Regardless of where you’re located, it always pays to be prepared if a flood warning comes your way. Whether it’s expected to be a few inches or to reach above your roof, here are some ways you and your family can keep safe in the face of an impending flood:
Know Your Flood Risk
The most important part of flood safety is knowing beforehand the risk of flooding for your home or area. FEMA creates flood maps that display flood areas coded by risk, ranging from high to undetermined. Check your area on a floodmap to learn more about what to expect when a flood warning is issued in your area.
If your area is prone to flooding, know which channels to monitor for weather updates so you can prepare with ample warning. Follow NOAA radio as well as your local weather station, and sign up for a community email or text alerting system. Keep a battery operated radio with some extra batteries and your cell phone fully charged so you can still receive updates in the event of a power outage.
Practice Your Flood Plan
In a high-stress natural disaster like flooding, all your careful planning could go out the window without a set practice in place. Discuss and practice details of your flood plan with your family, including your communication plan, first aid skills and emergency response actions. If you have pets, know some basic pet first aid and keep a pet emergency kit on hand.
Store Your Necessities
When it comes to floods, there’s no telling how much warning you may have before needing to evacuate. Prepare ahead of time by putting together all of your necessities so you can grab and go in case you need you get out quickly. Keep in mind the five P’s for what bring: People, Prescriptions, Papers, Personal Needs and Priceless Items.
Protect Your Property
Consider purchasing flood insurance if you don’t have it already. Most policies do not cover flood losses for areas not commonly at risk for flooding, so you may need to purchase the extra protection in a separate insurance plan. Policies take effect 30 days after purchase, so invest as soon as possible if necessary.
Take measures to protect your property and valuables by elevating heating systems, water heaters, electric panels, appliances and furniture if possible. Waterproof your basement and home by using sandbags, plywood and plastic sheeting. Keep drains and gutters free of debris and install sump dumps with battery backup.
Consult With Others
Open discussion with family members and friends on what they’ve done to prepare for a flood will help you cross check your plans and share details about alerts and other ways to protect your property. Review websites like the FEMA or The American Red Cross for additional ways to stay protected and safe during floods.
If authorities are advising that you evacuate in the face of an impending flood, do so immediately. Have a flood evacuation route in place and be sure to grab all of the necessities you’ve stored earlier so you and your family can get on the road quickly and safely. Make the proper arrangements to travel with any pets or animals that you plan to bring along, including checking with shelters you may stay in to ensure they are pet-friendly. If you have time before evacuating, take extra precautions before leaving your home, like moving items to a higher floor, turning off gas, water and electricity and placing sandbags around your property.
Now that you know what to do in the face of an impending flood, your response time should be quick and your family should be safe. A little preparation goes a long way, so follow these tips the next time a potential flood warning pops up in your area.