In the United States, floods are one of the most common and deadliest natural disasters. While some natural disasters occur more in certain regions of the country, such as earthquakes in the areas surrounding a fault line, floods can occur anywhere rain falls and can impact large areas of land. Because the weather cannot be controlled, there are only a few ways humans can prevent flooding. However, knowledge and preparation for a flood can help all homeowners stay safe and limit the amount of damage to personal property.
Before a Flood
One of the first steps to being ready for a flood is to know your risk for a flood. Then, create an emergency disaster plan that lists other natural disaster risks in your area. Develop a plan that includes a safe place for a family to stay if there is a flood, maps that show possible evacuation routes and road closures during a flood and directions that describe what to do if your family gets separated. Your emergency disaster plan should also include a kit with a list of important phone numbers, a first aid kit, medications, food, water and a document that lists the location of your valuables. If possible, store any valuables in the home on the upper floor of a home, off the floor.
During a Flood
During a flood, stay up-to-date on the latest information by listening to a battery-operated radio, which many MP3 players now include. Radio announcers typically broadcast the latest news about natural disasters, the locations of emergency shelters, road closures and safety instructions. Additionally, if you must drive during a flood, do not drive through moving water.
After a Flood
After the rains have stopped, it is best to continue to pay attention to the local to news to learn when it is safe to go home after a flood. Families should exercise caution as standing water in a home can contain mold, viruses and bacteria. If your home experienced any water damage, it is best to have a professional examine it to make sure the home is safe to enter. Moreover, if your home did suffer water damage from a flood, call a flood restoration specialist to help you examine the contents within it to see what you can salvage and what you need to throw away. For example, a restoration specialist can remediate wet documents, but may recommend throwing away old carpet to prevent mold growth.
Although a flood may be hard to predict and prevent, a family can easily prepare for one. Creating an emergency disaster plan and kit is a great activity for families to do together as it gets everyone involved and on the same page regarding important safety issues.
We would like to extend a special thanks to Drew, who is learning about flood safety in his science class. He found a great site, HomeownersInsurance.org, which has additional information about staying safe during a flood. Good find, Drew!
[photo: Wikimedia Commons]