Flooding is one of the most common emergencies to strike within the United States. To find out how common floods are in your area, consult the FEMA Disaster Declaration Visualizer to see if your area is prone to flooding. Here are some tips that will help you manage the situation should you find yourself in the cross hairs of an incoming flood event.
- Get yourself a quality emergency kit. Whether it's an Echo-Sigma Emergency System or a home built kit that you spent weeks or months researching and piecing together, have one. Also, make sure that you have water in your kit. Just because you're surrounded by water, it doesn't mean that it's safe to drink, even if filtered. To learn more you can read this article.
- Stay connected and informed. Information is critical when it comes to floods so as soon as the skies darken or rumors fly you should fire up the weather radio. Knowing when something will hit, potential severity and impending evacuation orders will allow you to make solid decisions. Midland Radio has an outstanding line of emergency radios that provide excellent capabilities at affordable prices.
- Make a plan. Know what you'll do if the waters come and you need to get out. Communicate the plan with your family and make sure that they all get it. In an emergency you can't rely on cell phones to be able to communicate so everyone needs to know that we will rally at a given location (preferably on high or protected ground) if evacuations occur. Hoping that things go down when everyone is at home is unrealistic. We all run busy lives so the family could be scattered across the county when word comes that your home is no longer safe.
- (Again) Stay connected and informed. If you need to evacuate, keep your ears on the radio so that you can learn of hazards in your evacuation route. Flooded roadways and washed out bridges could turn a straight forward drive into a critical emergency of its own.
- Secure your home. Gather irreplaceable documents (which you identified in your planning), shut off your utilities and lock up tight.
- Stay out of the water! This may seem simple but a grown person can be knocked off of their feet by as little as 6 inches of flowing water. Depending on the model, as little as 8 inches of water could stall your car leaving you in a floating/sinking coffin. Don't walk in flowing water and don't try to drive through any water that obscures your view of the road surface.
- (Still) Stay connected and informed. Once things settle down, you'll be anxious to know when it's safe to head back home. Keep your radio on and stay in touch with any local officials you can get info from.
- Watch your footing. Floods are notorious for altering landscapes. Keep your eyes open and tread lightly on any terrain covered in mud. Sinkholes may have developed that are difficult to see and they can easily twist your ankle or worse.
- Download this handy guide from the Red Cross. "Repairing Your Flooded Home" gives you plenty of great tips on what to do in the aftermath. You can print it out and put a copy in your emergency kit.
- Volunteer. If you find that your home isn't damaged or requires minimal cleanup, go out into the community and offer to help out those who were less fortunate. Sometimes just seeing neighbors out there helping can really lift a communities spirits after an emergency.
Flooding is one of the most damaging and dangerous emergencies there is. Luckily, with a bit of forethought, planning and attention, you can make it through. Stay safe out there.