Spring might bring April showers and May flowers but it also brings floods. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), flooding is the most common type of natural disaster that occurs in the United States. The Midwest especially is susceptible to spring thaws that caused flooding but every area of the country is at risk for floods and flash floods. In order to prepare your home and family, FEMA offers a few tips and recommendations.
Get a Kit
Preparing for any emergency (flood, tornado, earthquake, etc.) means preparing an all-purpose emergency kit that will work for any emergency. An emergency kit contains non-perishable food, bottled water, prescription medications and first aid supplies, important papers and documents (insurance policies, medical cards, wills, deeds, birth and marriage certificates, tax papers, etc.), extra clothing and bedding, flashlights and extra batteries, emergency weather radio and hand crank radio.
When preparing for a flood, I have found that lining the emergency kit with a plastic trash bag or bagging items in zippered freezer bags is a smart precaution against water damage. Put your kit together in a plastic box or perhaps a lidded trash can. If you use a trash can then lining it with a heavy lawn and leaf or contractor trash bag is a good idea to protect against water in the event of a flood.
Make a Plan
What should an emergency plan include? For any type of emergency, your plan should include a safe spot to go if you need to leave your home.
In addition, you should know the immediate risks around your home. Take a walk around your home immediately after a heavy rain and get a good look at areas in your yard that flood and hold water.
Pay attention to your driveway. If heavy rains and flash floods come or if flood waters rise, will your driveway and the road be accessible?
An important part of an plan should be an escape route, a safe place to escape to and a discussion with your family about what to do if you are separated. Do your children know what to do in an emergency? If you're not sure, make sure you work with them so you can answer that question with a definitive "yes."
Have a contact person who lives outside your area. Why is this important? If everyone in your region is affected by disaster, you may not be able to reach them. If you have friends and family outside of the area who will be worried about you, how will they know you are safe? A contact person outside of your area can help disseminate vital information about your well-being to friends and family.
Pay attention to weather conditions in your area. Know what the various flood watches and warnings mean. Don't ignore severe weather threats and if you need to evacuate don't hesitate.
Prepare Your Home
Find out if the location of your home puts it at risk for flooding. If so, elevate items like your water heater, your electric panel and furnace if possible. FEMA also recommends you install check valves to prevent the backup of flood waters into drains in your home. Seal basement walls with waterproof compounds to help keep water out. If the threat of flood is serious, you may need to construct barriers around your home to keep out water.
Check with your insurance agent about your homeowner's insurance and discuss your flood policy options. Keep copies of your policies and policy numbers with your emergency kit.
Plan ahead and prepare for the possibility of disaster. There is no guarantee your home will be safe and withstand a flood, but a little forethought can increase your chances of staying safe and keeping your home safe.
- homeowner s insurance
- flash floods
- natural disaster
- first aid supplies
- check valves
- bottled water