Floods are extremely dangerous.
It’s not just the rushing waters that you should be worried about. Floods are dangerous because of the devastation that they leave behind after the water recedes.
Water damage and mold can ruin a property.
Hurricane Harvey, which hit eastern Texas over four days in the summer of 2017, was the worst flood in US history causing over $125 billion (2017 USD) in damage.
It’s important to stay safe during a flood and prepare.
If you plan well, you can save yourself from the headache. Here are 7 sound tips to prepare for a flood.
1. Identify Your Risk
Is your property is in a flood zone?
Your local government and disaster agencies have already decided what types of disasters are likely to affect your town. This information is based on recorded history and geographical information.
Visit your local Red Cross office or check online at the Federal Emergency Management Agency FEMA Flood Map Service Center to see a map of your community risks.
2. Make a Meet-Up Plan
The first step in disaster preparedness is to make a plan. Put it down in writing and discuss your flood plan with your friends and family. Before you prepare against water damage, it’s important for you to safely find your loved ones.
Choose a primary meeting location near your home and a secondary spot outside of your neighborhood. When a disaster happens, your family will know where to find each other.
Pick a place that you all are familiar with like your church or a favorite restaurant across town. You can even run family meet-up drills for fun.
3. Have a Communications Plan
A disaster plan also includes communication guidelines in case the normal modes of communication are down.
If the city phone lines go down during a flood, how will you contact each other?
Disaster agencies advise you to try SMS or text messages even if cell phone networks are overloaded.
In some cases, long distance phone calls from landlines will work when the local network is tied up. Choose somebody out of state to be your main point of contact.
Write their number down and keep it in your wallet. Let them know that they will play a key role in your family’s disaster plan.
Now it’s time to think about your property.
4. Do Regular Maintenance
A little upkeep goes a long way when the water begins to rise near your home.
Keep your gutters, downspouts, and drains clear of leaves and debris so that water can flow freely.
5. Assess Your Property
For minor flooding up to an inch of water, you can guard against damage. Take a look at your property.
What is the slope of the land? Where will the water collect? Any water collecting over one inch is going to cause serious damage and mold. Sandbags are an option to make a temporary emergency levee if you are near to a water source.
6. Make Adjustments
The best thing you can do is get things up off the ground. Put expensive appliances up on blocks. Make sure your water heater and furnace are above your home’s flood level and anchored down.
Raise all your property’s wiring and electrical systems to keep everything above water.
Use professional-grade sealant on low areas of your home like basement windows.
7. Get Insurance
Always hope for the best and prepare for the worst.
Even with the best planning, your city could get hit hard. That means that you should have insurance in case the worst happens.
Don’t get stuck paying for flood damage out of pocket.
The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) has information on insurance policies and guidance so that consumers can make claims and get compensation for flood damage.
Having insurance means that the flood is a temporary disaster but won’t affect your financial situation for life.
Of course floods are dangerous. Like any natural disaster, they can happen at any moment with very little warning.
Do your best to prepare yourself, your family, and your property and you will have peace of mind when it actually happens.