As we've seen recently with hurricanes Harvey and Irma, natural disasters can quickly turn into tough situations where emergency preparedness is a necessity. Keeping your family prepared for flooding is super important, but it doesn't have to be super difficult.
It’s wise to have a basic list of preparations in place at all times if you live in areas prone to flooding, high rainfall, poor waterway infrastructures, or tropical storms. Also keep in mind that earthquakes have a higher risk of flooding since they can cause dams to fail.
Don't let flooding catch you off-guard! Here’s how you can keep your family prepared for floods and protect your lives and property.
Preparing Your Home for Flooding
Your safety should be the first priority if your area is flooding. If you do have time to prepare your home, there are several steps you can take to lessen damage and make the house safer to navigate during and after the flood.
- Store hazardous and dangerous items securely. Chemicals, sharp objects, and weapons should not be left out to where they’re likely to float around in floodwaters. Glass and other breakables should be stored securely as well.
- Put family documents and personal valuables in a waterproof case in a higher level of the home or other safe location. Be prepared to retrieve them quickly in the event that you evacuate.
- Move possessions to higher levels of the home. Move pets to the higher levels of the home as well. If you end up evacuating, try to take your pets with you. If you aren’t able to, put them in the highest level of your home with plenty of food and clean water.
- Switch off utilities, or be prepared to do so. Know where your home’s shut off valves for electricity, water, and gas are – be prepared to shut them off if rising waters threaten to enter your home, if directed to by local authorities, or if you evacuate.
Your Family’s Flood Plan
Depending on the severity of the flood, your family may remain sheltered at home or evacuate the area. If evacuation becomes necessary, your family will benefit by knowing what to expect. In fact, practicing an evacuation drill soon isn’t a bad idea. Make plans for:
- When your family will evacuate. Create a solid evacuation plan by discussing possible scenarios, including flooding of different levels of severity, in which your family might evacuate to either a safer building or another region altogether.
- What family members should bring along. Can each family member quickly pack their essential belongings? Do younger children have a “buddy” to help them with this?
- Where the family will go. Where are the local shelters? Do you have family members that you could stay with within a few hours of home?
Safety Tips for Flooded Areas
If you’re area is flooding, you’ll want to:
- Monitor local radio stations
- Never drive into floodwaters, even if it doesn’t look very deep
- Stay away from culverts and drains
- Boil water for drinking and cooking until utilities are declared safe. Flooding can cause contamination of local water sources
- Don’t allow children to play near the floodwaters
- Don’t eat food that has been exposed to floodwater
Have you ever experienced flooding? What advice would you give to help families prepare?