Preparing for a
A sudden spring
storm, a heavy downpour or a tropical storm can all lead to the
same event, flooding. Flooding poses the risk of significant
property damage and a real threat to life and limb. Preparing
for a flood is smart. Start by finding out if your home is in
danger from flooding. Do you live near a creek, stream, river or
lake? If you live near the ocean, could you be effected by storm
surge during a hurricane? Are there levees or a dam near your
home? These questions might provide a place to start
understanding your flood risk. Next consider flood insurance.
Flood insurance is separate from home owners or renters
insurance. Floods are not covered in home owner policies. You
must take out flood insurance to be protected. Beyond these
preliminary steps there are other steps you should take to
protect your self and your family. Some steps are optional or
may not apply to you because of your circumstances others are
necessities or will protect your survival. Below are many tips
you may want to use.
Some Things To
Do Not Drive Into Running Water More
Than A Few Inches Deep. Your vehicle can be carried away with
you in it if you drive into running water. The result could be
the drowning death of everyone in the vehicle or serious injury.
Avoid Electrical Hazards
- Never make contact with power lines, regardless
of whether they are on the ground or intact. Do not drive
through standing water if downed powerlines are in the water.
If a powerline falls across your car while you are driving,
stay inside the vehicle and continue to drive away from the
- Never turn power on or off yourself or use an electric
tool or appliance while standing in water. If electrical
circuits and electrical equipment have gotten wet or are in or
near water, turn off the power at the main breaker or fuse on
the service panel. If you must enter standing water to access
the main power switch, then call an electrician to turn it
- If you see frayed wiring or sparks when you restore power,
or if there is an odor of something burning (whether fire is
visible or not), immediately shut off the electrical system at
the main circuit breaker.
- Consult your utility company about how to install and use
power generators properly.
Here are some
basic steps and options to take to prepare for the storm:
local county geologist or county planning department to find
out if your home is located in a flash-flood-prone area or
your community's emergency plans, warning signals,
evacuation routes, and locations of emergency shelters.
practice a flood evacuation route with your family. Ask an
out-of-state relative or friend to be the "family contact"
in case your family is separated during a flood. Make sure
everyone in your family knows the name, address, and phone
number of this contact person.
phone numbers at every phone.
authorities about any special needs, i.e., elderly or
bedridden people, or anyone with a disability.
potential home hazards and know how to secure or protect
them before the flood strikes. Be prepared to turn off
electrical power when there is standing water, fallen power
lines, or before you evacuation. Turn off gas and water
supplies before you evacuate. Secure structurally unstable
Buy a fire
extinguisher and make sure your family knows where it is and
how to use it.
Buy and install
sump pumps with back-up power.
Have a licensed
electrician raise electric components (switches, sockets,
circuit breakers and wiring) at least 12" above your home's
projected flood elevation.
toilets, and other sewer connections, install backflow
valves or plugs to prevent floodwaters from entering.
tanks which can contaminate your basement if torn free. An
unanchored tank outside can be swept downstream and damage
If you are under
a flood watch or warning:
emergency supplies you previously stocked in your home and
stay tuned to local radio or television station for updates.
Turn off all
utilities at the main power switch and close the main gas
valve if evacuation appears necessary.
immunization records handy or be aware of your last tetanus
shot, in case you should receive a puncture wound or a wound
becomes contaminated during or after the flood.
sinks and plastic soda bottles with clean water. Sanitize
the sinks and tubs first by using bleach. Rinse and fill
with clean water.
possessions, such as lawn furniture, grills and trash cans
inside or tie them down securely.
You Will Need
You should stock
your home with supplies that may be needed during the emergency
period. At a minimum, these supplies should include:
containers for water, large enough for a 3-5 day supply of
water (about five gallons for each person. One gallon per
person per day.).
A 3-5 day supply
of non-perishable food and a non-electric can opener.
A first aid kit
and manual and prescription medicines and special medical
radio, flashlights, and extra batteries.
Sleeping bags or
supplies, such as chlorine or iodine tablets or unscented,
ordinary household chlorine bleach.
Baby food and/or
prepared formula, diapers, and other baby supplies.
cleaning cloths, such as "baby wipes" for the whole family to
use in case bathing facilities are not available.
supplies, such as soap, toothpaste, sanitary napkins, etc.
An emergency kit
for your car with food, flares, booster cables, maps, tools, a
first aid kit, fire extinguisher, sleeping bags, etc.
sturdy shoes, and waterproof gloves.
containing DEET or Picaridin, screens, or long-sleeved and
long-legged clothing for protection from mosquitoes which may
gather in pooled water remaining after the flood. (More
information about these and other recommended repellents can
be found in the CDC fact sheet
Updated Information Regarding Insect Repellents.)
Expect the need to
evacuate and prepare for it. When a flood watch is issued, you
vehicle’s gas tank and make sure the emergency kit for your
car is ready.
If no vehicle is
available, make arrangements with friends or family for
Fill your clean
emergency plans and supplies, checking to see if any items are
Tune in the radio
or television for weather updates.
disaster sirens and warning signals.
Put livestock and
family pets in a safe area. Due to food and sanitation
requirements, emergency shelters cannot accept animals.
thermostat on refrigerators and freezers to the coolest
If You Are Ordered
You should never
ignore an evacuation order. Authorities will direct you to leave
if you are in a low-lying area, or within the greatest potential
path of the rising waters. If a flood warning is issued for your
area or you are directed by authorities to evacuate the area:
essential items with you.
If you have time,
turn off the gas, electricity, and water.
appliances to prevent electrical shock when power is restored.
designated evacuation routes and expect heavy traffic.
Do not attempt to
drive or walk across creeks or flooded roads.
If You Are Ordered
NOT to Evacuate
To get through the
storm in the safest possible manner:
Monitor the radio
or television for weather updates.
evacuate to a shelter or to a neighbor's home if your home is
damaged, or if you are instructed to do so by emergency
Much of this
information is made available courtesy of the hard working men
and women at the CDC