Spring is in full swing across the country! As the most common natural disaster in the United States, floods are a potential hazard for almost every home and business. Awareness and preparation make floods much less dangerous, both to you and your home. With that in mind, here are a few essential tips on how to prepare for a flood:
- It might be impossible given your location, but, if building a home, avoid building in a floodplain. When buying a home make sure you are aware if you will be in a floodplain. More preparation is essential for inhabitants of areas commonly flooded.
- If you live in a floodplain, elevate and reinforce your home.
- Seal walls in your basement to avoid significant leaking.
- Make sure you have an emergency kit. Electricity, gas, and other utilities are often compromised during floods. Your emergency kit should help prepare you for this.
- Enough water and food for 3-5 days
- Flashlight and radio (both battery powered) along with extra batteries
- A first aid kit and any necessary prescription medications
- Items for purifying water, like iodine tablets
- Have an evacuation and communication plan in place for you and your family. How you will leave, where you will meet, and how you will contact each other, should be included in the plan.
Floods can be caused by many different factors. Thunderstorms, hurricanes, spring thaw, or a combination of any of the above. People in low lying areas where these natural elements are common and people below dams and levees should pay attention to these factors. The best way to prepare for a flood is to pay attention to media during heavy rain events, and evacuate if advised to do so. If evacuation is possible prepare by:
- Keeping a full tank of gas in your car and the emergency kit at the ready
- Going over your evacuation and communication plan
- Listening to broadcasts for weather updates and for the sound of emergency sirens
If ordered to evacuate because of a flood:
- Turn off gas, electricity, and water and disconnect all appliances
- If the warning is for a flash-flood, seek higher ground immediately
- Take only essential items
- Follow all evacuation routes and advisories
- Be extremely careful when near moving water – even low levels can be very dangerous.
This is just a rough outline of the essentials for how to prepare for a flood. Listen to official broadcasts, always evacuate if advised to do so by officials, and use common sense when evacuating.