Did you know? In the US, floods are the leading cause of destruction and casualties out of any natural disaster.
But if you act now, you’ll be ready for a flood when it hits AND you’ll have peace of mind in the meantime. Truly a win-win combo!
Because you don’t just have to live near a body of water to experience them. Floods and flash floods are likely in the event of unexpected heavy rains. They often occur following a hurricane, several days of rain or even thawing snow.
So you’re basically vulnerable to floods everywhere and anywhere. But you should be extra prepared if you do live in a low-lying area or near a body of water. Coastal areas are at higher risk during hurricane season (June - November) and the Midwest is more at risk during heavy summer rains.
These are two signals that are important to know. Make note of the differences between them:
Flood/Flash Flood Watch
Flooding in your area is possible. You should leave or be prepared to move to higher ground on short notice.
Flood/Flash Flood Warning
Flooding is occurring or is about to occur soon. Take immediate precautions and if advised to evacuate, do so immediately.
Here are some tips for before, during and after flooding to help keep you safe.
How to Prepare and Stay Safe During a Flood
Prepare in Advance of a Flood
- Stay Alert and Know Your Risk
- Make a Flood Emergency Plan with Your Family
It’s critical to sit down with your family and discuss what you will all do in the event of a flood emergency. Find a nearby emergency shelter approved for floods. Have your emergency kit stocked and ready to take at a moment’s notice. Our JUDY kits are ready-made and picked by experts.
Ensure everyone knows the evacuation plan and a meeting spot in case you get separated. If there’s a flood watch, make sure everyone’s cell phones are charged up.
- Get Your Home Ready
Consider purchasing flood insurance or review your current insurance to confirm coverage in the event of a flood. Then seal basement walls, clear drains and gutters around the house and raise any furnaces or electrical appliances above the base flood elevation level. Have sandbags ready to stop flood water from entering.
Stay Safe During a Flood
- Evacuate If Instructed
If a Flood Warning is in place and local officials instruct you to leave, then you must do so immediately. Turn off the power and water mains in your home, locate your family and emergency kit, then evacuate quickly.
- Move Through a Flood Safely
Once you are on your way to a safe location, avoid contact with floodwater as much as possible because it may be contaminated. Take note that even two feet of fast-flowing water can carry away most vehicles. Do not walk, swim or drive through flood water at all costs.
Pay attention to barricades and stay away from areas subject to flooding such as underpasses, bridges, beaches and low spots.
- Get to Higher Ground
If you get trapped on a flooded road with rising water levels, get everyone out of the car and move to higher ground fast. If water is rising inside the car, move to the roof.
Continue to tune in to local area radio, TV and NOAA radio for emergency information as you and your loved ones are evacuating.
Be Mindful After the Flood
- Return Once Declared Safe
Once your local authorities and weather reports deem it safe, you can return back home with your loved ones. Be mindful as you return and avoid wading or stepping in water, in case of downed power lines.
- Take Care In Your Home
Your first priority should be to dispose of any food that has come into contact with flood water. do not use water that could be contaminated to wash dishes, brush teeth, prepare food, wash hands, make ice, drink or make baby formula.
If any gas or electrical appliances were flooded don’t use them until they have been checked for safety by a professional. In this case, boiled tap water or an undamaged water heater may be your best source of fresh water after a flood.
- Record Damage
Take pictures of home damage, both of the buildings and its contents, for your records and the insurance company.
If You’re at Risk for a Flood - Are You Prepared?
Did you know that 60% of American adults do not know what to do in a natural disaster? Take yourself out of this statistic and be ready in the face of the unpredictable. You got this!
If you have additional questions, send them our way!