Don’t Get Caught Being Unprepared During a Flood
There are different types of floods that can unexpectedly occur. A pipe might burst under the sink, causing your entire bathroom to be filled with water, your washing machine may have a leaky hose that causes your garage to become submerged, but the scariest type of flooding is the kind that is completely out of our control- flash flooding.
Hearing those warnings buzz across the television screen, interrupting our regularly scheduled program, can cause anyone’s stomach to drop, especially if you know that you live in a flood plain. Being prepared for this type of situation can sometimes make the difference between life and death, or at least between partial damage and total loss. Flash flood preparedness means integrating many different things, including knowing how to handle the aftermath of a flood.
First off, before there is even mention of a flood, it is necessary to have an emergency bag packed and ready to go. This requires way more than just throwing a few water bottles and granola bars in a duffle bag. You need to plan for every member of your family, and calculate at least three days worth of supplies for each person. This pack should include one gallon of water per person, per day, non-perishable food, flashlights, battery-powered or hand-crank radio, batteries, a First Aid kit, medicine and medical supplies, personal hygiene items, copies of identification and legal/personal documents, a cell phone, a charger, emergency contact information (written down), cash, blankets, maps, baby supplies, pet supplies, tools, an extra set of keys, clothing, rain gear, sunscreen and disposable cameras.
It may seem like a lot of stuff to pack, but having all these essential items in a large bag (or bags) in an easily accessible spot, like on a shelf in the garage or in the trunk of a car, will make all the difference during an emergency evacuation. It is hard to think straight when you are being rushed from your home, so having this pack in place, ready to grab, will ensure that you have everything you need to be away from your home for a while.
Once a flood does strike, knowing how to handle things calmly and safely are key. Listen to the radio and television to gather as much information as you can about the progression of the flood, paying special attention to evacuation requirements. If there are flash flood warnings, it is a good idea to head for higher ground. If you end up coming into contact with flowing flood waters, go the opposite direction of the water. If you are on foot, be wary of waters rising more than 6 inches from the ground, this can easily cause you to be literally swept off your feet. If you are driving in a car, and you find yourself in rising waters, immediately get out of the car, find higher ground and stay there. It only takes 2 feet of water to sweep away a car.
After the flood as passed, getting back to your home is the first thing you are going to want to do. However, it is important to wait until the area has been declared safe by an official before going home. Check for cracks in the foundation upon entering the structure, as well as looking out for loose power lines and damaged gas lines. Try to avoid stepping in puddles, to limit your risk of being electrocuted. It is best to keep children and pets away from the area all together until the restoration process has been completed.