Flood Safety Tips
It is important to be aware of flood hazards wherever you live or work, and especially if you are near water or located in low-lying land. While small streams, creeks and gullies may appear harmless, they all have the potential to flood in wet weather. Below are tips to help you better prepare for a flood:
- Take a comprehensive inventory of your possessions (ex. electronic devices, jewelry, contents of closets, drawers, antiques, furniture, etc.) using photos or videos to assist in insurance claims after a flood. A video tour of your house is also recommended in order to assist claims agents. This will give them a better understanding of the condition of your walls, flooring, light fixtures, etc.
- Develop a communication plan. If disaster strikes, who will be responsible for calling and checking on each family member/friend? What number is best to reach each person at?
- Pick out a meeting spot with your family and plan to meet there if you are in different locations when disaster strikes, or if you get separated during a possible evacuation of the area.
- Elevate the furnace, water heater and electric panel in our home if you live in a high flood risk area.
- Consider installing “check valves,” which are tools that prevent flood water from backing up into the drains of your home.
- Seal basement corners with waterproofing compounds.
Damage from a flood is often much less obvious, and therefore more difficult to overcome than damage left by other natural disasters, such as earthquakes, tornados and wildfires. Below are tips to help keep you safe in the immediate aftermath of a flood:
- Avoid moving water, as you can easily get carried away in a current.
- Use local alerts and warning systems to get information as soon as possible.
- In the event of a flood it is likely that a recovery team will be on site assisting people in flooded areas. You can be most helpful to them by staying off of the roads and out of the way.
- If power lines are down around your home, do not step in puddles or standing water.
- If you must walk or drive in an area that has been flooded, play it safe and stay on firm ground; moving water only 6 inches deep can sweep you off of your feet.
- Stay out of any buildings that are surrounded by flood waters.
- Keep children and pets away from moving water to the best of your ability.
- Return home only when it has been deemed safe to do so by officials.
- Watch out for wild animals, especially snakes, that may enter your home.
- Once inside, promote drying throughout the house by opening windows, doors, crawl space vents and access doors, attic access panels, etc. to permit airflow throughout the house. Interior doors, second floor windows, bath and kitchen cabinet doors and drawers should also be opened.
- To prevent mold, remove water soaked materials such as clothes, drapes, furniture, rugs and if possible, carpeting. Salvageable materials should be spread to dry in a carport or garage. Non-salvageable material should be moved away from the house to a debris pile.
- During cleanup wear protective clothing, including rubber gloves and boots.
- Take pictures or video of the damage, both of the house and its contents, for insurance claims.