There is really no good time for a flood. Big or small, a flood can cause a great deal of damage and poses a real risk to people living and traveling through the flooded area.
To make sure you and your family, home, and vehicles come through a flood without harm, follow these simple flood safety tips.
Prepare Before a Flood Hits
It may seem odd preparing for a flood before it even happens. However, when building or buying a new home, you should investigate whether the area is prone to flooding. Avoid building or buying a house on a floodplain. If the area does flood, build or buy a home on higher ground and build retaining walls, levies and other barriers to help keep floodwaters at bay. These barriers can be worked into the landscape to help accent and increase the value of your property.
If flooding is imminent, be prepared to leave your property if floodwaters get too high. Pack enough clothing and supplies to last a few days. Make sure to put important documents in your bag also. If time permits, try to move furniture and electronics to a second floor and flip off the circuit breakers to avoid electrical fires.
Keep Safe During a Flood
One of the most important flood safety tips to remember is to stay out of the water as much as possible. If you do have to evacuate during a flood, avoid walking through moving waters. As little as six inches of water can make an adult lose their balance and fall. Carry a walking stick with you to check for solid ground under the water ahead of you. Watch out for electrical equipment and fallen power lines.
If you’re driving during a flood, don’t attempt to drive through moving floodwaters. Two feet of moving water could be strong enough to wash your car away. If water begins to rise around your car, abandon the car if you’re able, and go to a safer area.
Dealing with the Aftermath
Return to your home only after being told it is safe to do so. You’ll need to begin the restoration process. Any remaining water should be removed as soon as possible. Everything within the home must be dried and disinfected quickly to prevent mold and mildew that can set in within 24 hours of the flooding.
Have your home’s heating and cooling system, electrical wiring and septic tank inspected. If a basement or crawlspace under your house is flooded, drain it and make repairs. Check the foundation for washout or weak spots. Check out these other Flood Recovery Tips from the American Red Cross.