Floods are common throughout the United States, and most flooding events are relatively harmless. However, major floods, especially those caused by hurricanes, can be extremely serious. In fact, during Hurricane Katrina, 80 percent of New Orleans was flooded, and the floods claimed hundreds of lives and caused damage to roughly 70 percent of the city’s occupied housing. It seems that every year, the number of floods and severity of the floods increase. Learning how to prepare for a flood can mean the difference between safety and tragedy. Here are some flood preparation tips to help you survive when a flood is coming.
Before the flood strikes
It’s crucial that you know what to do before a flood strikes. If you know you live in an area that occasionally floods, it’s important you stock up on at least three to five days’ worth of food and water. Have your bug out bag, your pets bug out bag, and all the essentials included in them ready to go. This ensures that you will have access to a first aid kit, emergency blankets, a battery powered radio, waterproof clothing and shoes, cash and the other items you will need to survive the ordeal. In areas that flood regularly, local officials usually have an evacuation route planned out, so it’s important that you check out that route before a flood starts. Evacuating early to avoid the flood instead of being trapped to endure it is the best case scenario.
During a flood
Knowing what to do during a flood is relatively simple. Pay attention to any evacuation orders. If you’re not evacuated but flood waters continue to rise, then make sure your home’s power is shut off. Turning off your gas and water lines is also a good idea too. If you live in a two story home, make sure that all of your important resources and valuables are brought up with you. As an added precaution, after cleaning your bathtubs and sinks with bleach, you can fill the tubs with clean drinking water in case potable water becomes limited. If you have emergency pouch water in your bug out bag, or bottled water with you, drinking water should not be a problem.
After the flood
Once the flood waters recede, all that’s left to do is begin the cleanup process. Because your appliances and electrical wiring might be exposed , it’s important to contact your utility company before you begin turning back on the power (gas and water should be treated similarly). The CDC offers suggestions on how to cleanup your home if flood waters enter into your living spaces, and it’s also a good idea to track down immunizations for you and your loved ones after a flood. Oftentimes, flooding can increase the presences of certain infectious diseases. If you have packed your bug out bag properly, you have waterproof boots, gloves, five gallon bucket, and heavy duty trash bags to protect yourself and to help with the clean up process. Knowing what to do before, during, and after a flood, can increase your and your family’s likelihood of remaining safe during a flooding event.
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