Preparing for a Flood

Flooding, especially flash flooding is a scary fact of life. Flash floods happen suddenly and without warning so it seems counter-intuitive to prepare for a flash flood, but there are lots of things you can do to prepare for a flood disaster.

Know your geography

Understanding the flood risks in the area you live in is the first thing. If you live by the beach it is kind of obvious, but in other areas it not be. Connect with local authorities to see areas which have historically been a problem.

Find out where evacuation routes are and have a plan in case it becomes necessary.  If you have to get out, know in advance what your plan is, and don’t leave it until the last minute as that’s when unforeseen things take place.

When you know a flood will happen

Safety is always the first priority. But once that has been properly considered you can turn your attention to other ways of minimizing the potentials damage.

Take anything electrical you can to a higher level. If possible, turn off the power in lower floors to prevent shorting. Roll up rugs and make sure all valuables are on a higher floor.

Update or create an emergency medical supplies kit and ensure you have all the necessary drugs for regular usage. Inhalers, insulin and blood pressure medicine will be needed if there is a flood. If you need a drug every day, make sure you have enough for a few days.

Make sure you have fresh water and even food for a few days. Hopefully, you will not need it for days on end, but being prepared for a few hours or even a few days may be reasonable.

In America, there are two types of warning

The difference comes from the words watch and warning. A flood or flash flood watch means a flood could occur. A flood warning means flooding is already happening and you need to take immediate precautions.

During a flood, stay safe

Local authorities may instruct homeowners to turn off water and electricity, so it is important to have a battery-powered radio so you can stay in touch.

If you have tap water, boil it until told it is safe to stop. Avoid all contact with the flood water as it may be contaminated. Also dispose of food that comes into contact with flood water, for the same reason.

Get people and pets to higher ground if necessary. Never underestimate the power of water, even it is moving slowly. Water is inherently dangerous, so never swim even if appears to be safe.

The myth of the SUV

No matter what you drive, stay out of flood water. Even an SUV will be carried downstream in only two feet of water. You might be on a road you think you know, but the ground changes when it is flooded. Never take the risk. Staying out of flood water is the only way to stay safe.