What to do in a flood: Before, during, and after
Every year, an average of 127 people are killed because of the flood. Flooding usually occurs around a hundred times per year. Destructive flooding can affect an estimate of 75,000 American homes each year as well.
Sometimes, flooding can be unexpected, especially in areas where there is only a low risk of flooding. Even if the place where you live doesn’t experience floods as much, it’s still best to know what to do, how you can prepare for it and learn where to get protection against flood damage.
It’s typical that places, where floods don’t happen often, are the places that are unprepared when it does happen. To avoid any severe damage and casualty, here are things that you should prepare and do in case of flooding.
Before a Flood Happens
Whether a flood is forecasted or not, if the rain will be heavy in the next few hours, you should already stay alert. Once it’s announced that heavy rains will be pouring in the next few hours, make sure that you have already prepared an emergency kit.
Your emergency kit can be created based on what you find is necessary. However, the basics like first aid kit and food supplies for the next 24 to 48 hours should be included. For the first aid kit, make sure you have bandages, alcohol, disinfectant, etc. For food supply, canned goods are usually what it should consist of. Do not forget clean and bottled water as well.
Communicate with your family and housemates about the strategies and where you will go in case a flood happens. Make sure that you have a communication plan. There should be a place where everyone should go in case they get separated from the rest.
Know where you should evacuate. Before the flood happens, it’s best that your phones and portable radios are charged. This can help you keep updated on the situation and you can call anybody you need to check on during the flood.
If you want to feel safer during the months when heavy rains happen a lot, then consider getting. Getting flood insurance is required by law if you live in places that are at high risk when it comes to flooding. Some of these places are New York, Seattle, and San Francisco. Most states with high-risk flood areas are the ones along the coasts.
During a Flood
When there’s already flooding, alertness is important. Keep your emergency kit near you at all times and make sure that it is placed in a waterproof container. Stay away from areas where flash flood is possible to happen.
Usually, a flash flood occurs in areas where streams, draining holes and channels, canyons, and steep places. What you need to do is immediately move to higher grounds. Usually, all these are announced in the radio or TV, but it’s better to not wait for any announcements.
If evacuation is necessary, before leaving, make sure that you secure your home. Bring your outdoor furniture inside and elevate the appliances or things that shouldn’t get. Turn off the main switch in your house as well.
Once outside, do not attempt to cross a flooded area with fast-moving water. This could easily sweep and drown you away. When driving, do not drive through deep waters and underpasses. You may underestimate how deep the water is and you could be stuck in the middle of a flooded area.
After a Flood
The aftermath can be just as bad as during the flooding so be careful during this time is still a must. If you evacuated, only return home if the authorities only allowed it. Once you get home, do not enter the house right away. Inspect the house first from the outside and assess any damage. If you think that the house is still intact, then that’s when you can assess everything from the inside.
Do not turn the electricity on right away. In fact, it’s best to have an electrician check your power supply first before switching it on. If you have appliances that got soaked in flood, avoid testing them out right away. Have it checked first or replaced when you can.
Another important matter that should be looked at after flooding is your water supply. Floodwater can be contaminated with sewer and other pollutants. If you drink water from the faucet, then avoid doing this first to avoid sickness and infections.
If you do have flood insurance, make sure that you document the damages in your home. You can have them listed down and you can also take pictures. These are the things that you will be submitting to your insurance agent. Also sometimes charitable organizations like Teen Missions might be around to help.