When flooding is imminent, it’s important to prepare, provide safety, as well as take available measures to lessen or prevent damage to property, personal property, livestock and equipment as well as other items that may be affected by rising waters. Equally important are the measures taken during and after the storm has passed.
Considering the follow basic preparedness plans may help ensure keeping losses at a minimum.
Before a Flood Occurs:
Avoid building in a floodplain, which is prone to flooding.
Construct barriers (levees, beams, floodwalls) to stop floodwater from entering homes.
Seal walls in basements with waterproofing compounds in order to avoid seepage.
Listen to the radio or television for information when a flood is expected to hit the area. Knowing the difference between a flood watch and a flood warning is important. A watch means flooding is possible, while a warning means flooding is occurring or will occur soon.
When a Flood is Imminent:
Pack a bag with important items in the event evacuation is required. Don’t forget to include needed medications. Before leaving, disconnect all electrical appliances.
If possible, bring in outdoor furniture and move essential items to an upper floor, and turn off utilities at the main switches or valves if instructed to do so.
If advised to evacuate do not hesitate; do so immediately. If there is any possibility of a flash flood occurring, move immediately to higher ground.
During a Flood:
Avoid walking through moving water. This will greatly reduce the risk of a fall, or injury from unseen objects. If it is necessary to walk in water, wherever possible, walk where the water is not moving. Using a stick allows a person to check the firmness of the ground and avoid obstacles.
Avoid driving into flooded areas. If floodwaters rise around a car being driven, abandon the car and move to higher ground if it can be done safely.
Never touch electrical equipment when wet or standing in water.
After a Flood Occurs
Listen for news reports to learn whether the community’s water supply is safe to drink.
Avoid floodwaters, which may be contaminated by oil, gasoline, or raw sewage. Water may also be electrically charged from underground or downed power lines. Avoid moving water as well.
Be aware of areas where floodwaters have receded. Roads may have weakened and could collapse under the weight of a car.
Stay away from downed power lines, and report them to the power company.
Stay out of any building if it is surrounded by floodwaters.
Return home only when authorities indicate it is safe.
Service damaged septic tanks, cesspools, pits, and leaching systems as soon as possible. Damaged sewage systems are potentially serious health hazards. Clean and disinfect anything that has gotten wet. Mud left from floodwater may also contain sewage and chemicals.
And be sure there is flood insurance in place as a homeowners policy excludes coverage for flood. An insurance agency can help with the placement of flood insurance.