Home From Flooding
Flash flooding can literally happen in an instant, and even nonviolent, slow-moving thunderstorms can overwhelm creeks and rivers, leading to serious flooding. Regardless of the cause, flooding can jeopardize your family’s safety and well-being.
Flood Control Measures to Consider
It may be impossible to prevent flooding, but flood control is possible. Follow these practical flood control tips to limit potential damage inside and outside your home:
- Keep gutters clean and make sure downspouts drain water away from your house.
- Maintain clear paths for storm water to travel, ensuring that storm drainage ditches are free of sticks, rocks, and other debris and can alleviate overflow that damages homes and surrounding property.
- If you can, install a small floodwall or use sandbags to regrade your yard.
- As a flood control precaution, install check valves and backup sewer valves to prevent water from backing up in your home’s drains.
Planning and Preparation Help Reduce Losses
Considering flood control as you perform routine maintenance on your home is the first step in safeguarding your family and property in the event of a flood. Being prepared for flooding if or when it occurs is just as important.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the American Red Cross, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend these steps and precautions:
- Know your home’s projected flood elevation and place electrical sockets and other components at least 12 inches above that point.
- Situate your furnace, washer and dryer, and other appliances on concrete blocks or otherwise raise them so they, too, are at least 12 inches higher than you home’s projected flood elevation point.
- Create a flood plan and “flood file” with must-have information, such as your insurance policy number and agent’s contact numbers, and friends and relatives you can contact in case of emergency. Keep the file in a safe (high and dry) place, and let caregivers and babysitters know where to find it.
- Stock a waterproof box with at least three days’ worth of canned foods, bottled water, medications, first aid supplies, a battery-powered radio, flashlights, and fresh batteries (or a hand-powered generator), basic cleaning supplies, some cash, and any other essential items you will need in case of an emergency. If you have pets, remember their needs as well.
Flood Safety Tips to Remember
Unfortunately, the best laid plans and flood control precautions can’t prevent flooding. To keep yourself and your family safe during a flood:
- Never walk through flowing floodwaters; even seemingly shallow flows can be powerful enough to knock adults off their feet.
- Never drive through flowing floodwaters. Most flooding deaths occur in cars. If you are in a car during flooding conditions, get out and head (on foot) for higher ground.
- Avoid contact with downed power lines.
- Be wary of wild animals — when flooded out of their homes, they may take refuge in yours.