Floods are some of the most dangerous calamities we know. Just ask Noah and his merry crew. A flood is usually caused by heavy rainfall brought about by a hurricane. It can also be caused by a storm surge, tsunami, a dam breaking, or a large chunk of ice melting. Whatever the cause, we should all know flood safety and preparedness tips so that we have a better chance of surviving this disaster.
Flood Preparedness Tips
Store food and water
After a storm hits and floods your area, it’d be difficult to get out to buy your basic needs like food and water. For one thing, it’s not safe to wade through the floodwater just to look for supplies. Also, you’re not particularly sure if you can bring something back. If your place is flooded, chances are the stores in your neighborhood are also flooded.
After Hurricane Ida, some people have turned to food delivery services for their meals. It’s great that delivery workers still have their jobs but their “skimpy wages and tips” aren’t enough compensation for the risks they’re taking. Also, you’re putting their lives at risk if you order take-out while your area is flooded.
As we’ve mentioned, it’s not healthy to wade through floodwater. Floodwater may contain contagious diseases and hazardous chemicals. It’ll be particularly dangerous if you have an open wound or if you accidentally ingest the floodwater. There’s also the danger of electrocution. Also, you can get into an accident because of the deep water or the wet and slippery roads. Finally, the vehicles they use for delivery can be damaged by a flood or road accident.
Stockpile enough supplies in your prepper pantry so you can afford to stay home while waiting for things to go back to normal. Just make sure your pantry is floodproof.
Prepare for a power outage
It’s common for the power to go out during a hurricane and the flood that usually comes with it. If you’re stranded in your home because of the flood, it’d be really bad if there’s a blackout, too. But as we’ve said, floods and blackouts are like a 2-in-1 deal. Also, it wouldn’t be real smart to keep the power on and use electrical devices while your place is flooded. That’s a recipe for disaster.
Prepare for blackouts by stockpiling alternative sources of light and heat. Stock up on LED flashlights, portable lanterns, and candles. Purchase lighting tools that will work using electricity, solar power, hand crank, and batteries. That way, you’ll always have light.
Don’t forget fire starters like lighters, waterproof matches, and magnesium rods for lighting your candles and starting a fire for your wooden stove.
You should also keep your food safe during a blackout. Avoid opening the fridge to keep the cold in and prolong the fresh foods inside. Better yet, have coolers and ice on hand. Consume perishable foods before they go bad before taking anything from your emergency food supply.
Build your emergency kits
A bug out bag or go bag contains all the essentials needed for you to survive the next few days after an emergency. These include non-perishable food and drinking water good for at least three days. And that’s just for one person. You should pack extra if you’re carrying for a young child or another person who can’t bring their own go bag.
Other items you should pack in your bug out bags include extra clothes, sleeping bags and other beddings, emergency blankets, first aid kits, prescription medicines, flashlights, lighters, waterproof matches, and portable lanterns. Bring a pocket knife, multi-tool, whistle, paracord, duct tape, tarp, garbage bags, and other survival gear. A hatchet and window punch will come in handy in case you’re trapped in a room with floodwater rushing in.
Valuables such as laptops, photos, medical records, and other important documents should be stored in waterproof bags. If you have a baby, pack infant formula, baby food, and other baby essentials. Pack essential needs of older adults, too. Oh, and don’t forget about your pets.
Flood-proof your home
If you live in an area prone to hurricanes and floods, you should have anti-flood measures in place by now. First, make your home flood-proof by installing a sewage water backstop. If you’ve seen the videos where floodwater is flowing out of toilet bowls. Those are caused by backflow from overtaxed sewers. A backstop will prevent that.
Another flood-control measure is to dig ditches to lead water away from your property. Avoid cementing everything. The more porous your surrounding is, the faster water will seep into the ground.
If possible, raise your house. Use stilts to keep your house above flood level. This may require you to break the bank but you’ll save money from flood damage in the long run. You should have your electrical outlets, switches, and circuit breakers raised, too. Generators, boilers, air conditioning units, water heaters, washing machines, and dryers should also be elevated above flood level.
Check the whole house and look for cracks, holes, and other openings where flood water can seep through. Apply additional coatings and sealants to prevent that from happening.
Install foundation vents that’ll let floodwater flow out of your home. Invest in a water pump or sump pump so you can drain the stormwater out of your home. Prepare sandbags, too. Placed correctly, the sandbags will divert the flow of the water and minimize damage to your property.
Secure your home
You should also have security measures in place. Believe it or not but some people will take advantage of disasters to commit crimes such as home invasion and theft. Install sturdy hinges and locks on your doors and windows. Prepare boards, long screws, and a drill so you can quickly board up the windows before a storm comes. These will also help keep intruders away. Also, have your properties insured.
Prepare an evacuation plan
So you have boarded up your widows, prepared your bug out bags, and are now intently listening to the radio. What should you do next once the order to evacuate is in? You should have an evacuation plan so everyone knows what to do when the time comes.
The first thing everyone should understand is that the evacuation plan should be taken seriously. Your lives will depend on it. Also, you’re preparing for all kinds of disasters or emergencies. Your plan should work whatever the circumstance whether it’s a flood, hurricane, fire, terrorist attack, or zombie apocalypse.
Flood Safety Tips
Disaster preparedness is one huge step to keeping your loved ones safe during an emergency such as a flood. Aside from that, you should also learn some safety tips to make sure no one gets in harm’s way during the calamity.
Before and during a flood warning
Keep your eyes and ears glued to news reports on both TV and radio stations. Be wary of weather forecasts so you’ll know in advance if there is a coming hurricane. If you’re nowhere near a TV or the power goes out, listen attentively to the radio. Pay close attention to alerts and announcements. Those living in coastal areas should be wary of storm surges and tsunamis.
Purchase as many emergency radios as you need. Get the hand crank, battery-operated, and solar-powered ones so you can still listen to the news even during blackouts. You should also have at least one emergency radio at home.
You should also have the means to stay up-to-date in case you’re far from home. Aside from the car stereo, carry a small weather radio in your car emergency kit. Include one in your everyday carry kit, too.
Collect clean water
Following a disaster such as a flood, the water may not be safe for consumption. Water can get contaminated with bacteria, oil, chemicals, sewage, agricultural or industrial waste, and other pollutants. For your safety, avoid drinking from the faucet until the authorities say it’s okay. Obviously, don’t drink floodwater if you don’t want to get sick.
Gather all empty water bottles, gallon jars, and food-safe plastic containers then fill them with clean water. Empty soda bottles will do as long as you clean them thoroughly first. Clean and sterilize your bathtub and sink before filling with water, too. You can also use a waterBOB when filling your bathtub.
Bring everything inside
Bring all your outdoor possessions and pets inside your home. If possible, take everything up the second floor or any elevated part of your home. The same goes with your possessions already inside your home.
Heavy patio furniture, garbage bins, and other large items that can’t be brought inside should be tied up and secured. The strong current of the rushing water can sweep them away. If that happens, the large debris can hit your home and possibly crack open the door. That means more floodwater will come into your home and endanger your lives.
Do some last-minute preparations
Aside from boarding up the windows, taking stuff inside, and elevating the valuable ones, you have other things to do before the hurricane and possible flood comes. One is to clean the gutters and drains. Ideally, you should do this regularly but you have to make sure they’re clear before the storm hits.
Place the sandbags around your property. Once you’re inside your home, block the gaps under the doors with thick towels. Get your cameras ready so you can take photos and videos once the floodwater gets inside. You’ll need them for insurance claims.
During the flood
Stay updated and be ready to evacuate
Listen to the local news station or the NOAA weather radio and wait for updates and alerts. Once the station gives out an alert, you should start preparing to evacuate You don’t have to wait and verify with the local authorities.
Prepare your bug out bags and everything else you need to bring when you leave. Talk to your kids so they won’t be too scared. Tell them this is what you’ve been practicing for. Help the older adults so they’re ready to evacuate, too. Place your pets in their cages or carriers so they’re good to go once you get the signal. Get the car ready, too.
Evacuate before it’s too late
Listen to the authorities when they tell you to evacuate. We’ve heard stories of residents refusing to leave their homes only to end up wishing they did. Once you get a flood warning, you should find a safer place to stay. You don’t have to wait for the authorities to tell you to leave. If you have a bug out location, you could go there at once.
Before you go, make sure your property is secure. Turn the main switches off for all utilities. Close the main gas valve, as well. Close the windows and lock the doors on your way out. Grab your bug out bags and secure all your valuable belongings. Contact relatives to update them on your situation. Someone should know where you’re going so they can check on you after the calamity.
If you have a bug out location, go there immediately. You can also proceed to a relative or friend in a nearby area that’ll not be affected by the storm. Just make sure they know beforehand that you’re coming. To be sure, make arrangements with this relative or friend so you can use their place as your emergency shelter. Offer your place, too, in case they’re the ones in need of help.
Don’t play in the water
You may have seen photos or videos of people playing in the flood. Some pretend they’re in a pool and do laps in the dirty water. Others ride lifesavers and let the flood current take them away. These may sound like fun but you won’t be laughing once you get sick of leptospirosis, cholera, typhoid fever, or other nasty diseases that come with floodwater. Keep watch over your children. Never let them play in floodwater.
After the flood
Make sure it’s safe to go back home
If you had to evacuate, wait for the authorities to tell you that it’s okay to go back home. Don’t re-enter your home without making sure it’s completely safe. Wait until the floodwater is completely gone and check the fuse if it’s turned off.
Be careful when you go out
The roads will be slippery and filled with debris so watch where you’re going. If you see a downed electric pole, don’t go any further. If there’s a live wire, you’ll only risk getting electrocuted. Make sure the main power has been turned off before you proceed. Be wary of landslides or mudslides, too.
Don’t drive through the flood
You may be tempted to drive through floodwater when you see that it’s subsiding. Avoid this. Even a few inches of water can do damage to your vehicle.
Don’t use water from the faucet just yet
The water system may not have recovered yet even if the flood is gone. It may take some time before you can have clean water from your faucets. Wait for announcements from the local authorities if the water is safe to use again. In the meantime, use the clean water you have collected before the flood. Check them first if they haven’t been damaged or contaminated. Use water filters to make sure the water is safe for consumption
Clean your flooded home safely and properly
Practice safe cleaning by wearing the proper protective gear like boots and gloves. Use a face mask to keep contaminated water from accidentally getting into your mouth.
Check your food and water supply if they were damaged by the flood. Throw away those that were in contact with the contaminated water. Raw meat and other perishable foods that haven’t been refrigerated for more than two hours should be discarded.
Throw out other stuff that’s been soaked in floodwater such as carpets, mattresses, pillows, and stuffed toys. You can’t use bleach on these things so you won’t be able to clean and sterilize them thoroughly.
Use bleach to clean the rest of the house and your belongings. Dilute it and use the solution to get rid of molds. As for the drywall and insulation that’s been soaked in contaminated water, just remove and throw them out.
Take these flood preparedness and safety tips to heart so you’ll know what to do when the time comes. Discover more tips on how to deal with different calamities over at Gentleman Pirate Club.