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No matter where you live, it is likely you will experience one of the most common forms of natural disasters: flooding. Although you can’t avoid flood conditions, you can properly prepare for floods.
Flood safety tips you should know
A comprehensive flood preparedness strategy includes many necessary steps. It’s important to prepare ahead of time to help you protect your home and your family in case flooding becomes severe. Flood preparation includes more than just waterproofing your basement and knowing what not to store in areas of your property that are prone to water damage. Whether you’re a homeowner or apartment dweller, the following flood safety tips can be to help you prepare for whatever flooding you may encounter down the road.
- Be aware of the emergency flood plan in your area. While preparing for a flood, it is important to learn about your community’s emergency plans, warning signals, evacuation routes, and locations of emergency shelters. This information may come in handy if you are ever caught in dangerous flooding conditions.
- Stay tuned. During inclement weather, keep informed by listening to your local radio or television stations. This way, you’ll stay up-to-date on possible flood warnings and reports of flooding in progress. You will also be properly advised as to what to do and when.
- Be prepared to quickly evacuate. Flooding can happen fast, so it is important to have all the necessary items gathered in advance. Create an emergency supply kit that includes:
o Three-day water supply
o Three-day supply of non-perishable food (don’t forget your manual can-opener)
o Disposable plates, cups and utensils
o First aid kit including prescription medications
o Battery-powered radio
o Flashlight and extra batteries
o Personal hygiene items
o Any essential items for individual family members, pets, etc.
- Head for higher ground. Whether you are outside or within your home, if a flood occurs, you should always look for higher ground. According to the Red Cross, if you come to ankle-deep water, you should stop and go another way: Even as little as six inches of swiftly moving water can sweep you off your feet.
- Avoid flood waters. If you are driving and come upon a flooded road, turn around and drive the other way. However, if you are caught on a flooded road and waters are rising rapidly, get out of the car quickly and move to higher ground on foot. The Red Cross explains that most cars can be swept away by less than two feet of moving water. Flood waters should also be avoided due to contamination or the possibility of being electrically charged due to fallen power lines.
- Be careful in the dark. When evacuating in the evening, there is additional danger because flood hazards may be hard to see. If possible, travel during the day to avoid hard-to-see standing water and flood currents.
- Use caution when cleaning up after a flood. While flood safety is paramount during a flood, you should also be cautious while in recovery mode. Avoid downed power lines, and make sure to report them to the power company. Beware of animals like snakes that could have made their homes in standing water. Also, clean and disinfect all inside surfaces that got wet. This should help prevent mold and mildew from forming.