Flood Safety Tips: How to Stay Safe Before, During and After a Flood

The Mississippi River just north of St. Louis ...

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Flood Safety Tips: How to Stay Safe Before, During and After a Flood

Floods seem to be happening with frightening regularity these days, and just because it’s never happened in your neighborhood before, it certainly doesn’t mean that it won’t happen in the future. Flooding can happen in every one of the 50 states, so it doesn’t really matter whether you live in Florida, Ohio or right next to the Mississippi River, but there are a few things which you can do so that if flooding does happen in your area you’ll be at least well prepared for the outcome. 

Flood Safety Tips: Before A Flood

Prevention is better than cure in many situations, and although your actions might not be able to actually prevent flood damage to your family or property, there are certain things which you can do to certainly minimize any losses and help to keep your family and loved ones safe.

  • Flood Insurance – flood insurance policies can take 30 days before they come into effect, so you really should not wait until the rain starts before sorting something out. Be prepared well in advance for insurance against the costly potential damage to your home or property.
  • Prepare your house – as much as possible against flood damage. Things in the basement are particularly at risk so make sure that any household items such as water heaters, furnaces or electrical components are lifted from the floor by around 12 inches minimum. Cement blocks work well for this. If you have a sump pump make sure that it works, if you haven’t got one . . . get one! A battery operated power backup system is also a good idea just in case there is a power failure.
  • Document your valuables – you’ll probably be surprised at just how valuable your valuables are . . . it all adds up you know. You should make an inventory of these possessions and put it into a file along with a copy of your flood insurance and any other policies or important documents. Put all of this into a safe place, a waterproof container is a good idea. You could also include photographs and receipts for your most valuable possessions, which will help with any insurance claims later.
  • Make a plan – all members of your family need to know about this plan. You need to know and practice a safe route from your home, school or work which leads to much higher ground. Be sure that everyone can contact each other in case of emergency, there’s nothing worse than being separated in the event of such a disaster and not knowing where your loved ones are and whether they are safe.  

Flood Safety Tips: During A Flood

  • Follow the plan – the one you made to prepare for the flood. Make your way to higher ground which has less risk of flooding.
  • Keep up to date – listen to regular updates on the television or radio, and follow the advice of local officials.
  • Wash your hands – if you do come into contact with any flood water with soap and clean water. Flood water is a surefire way to spread disease.
  • Never – try to drive or walk through flooded roads or cross swollen rivers or streams.

Flood Safety Tips: After A Flood

  •  Contact your flood insurance agent to make a claim, if your property was damaged in the flood.
  • Don’t enter your flooded home until you are sure that it has not suffered any structural damage.
  • Take photographs of any flood damage, and save property which has escaped from the flood.
  • Turn the power off and don’t turn it back on until the whole system has been checked by an electrician, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
  • List all damaged or broken items, take photographs of anything which is damaged beyond repair, and don’t forget about the pictures and receipts you’ve got safe in a waterproof box somewhere.
  • Take out as many wet things as quickly as you can to prevent further mold from forning (your flood insurance policy won’t cover you for that).
  • Don’t drink or cook with the water without boiling it first, at least not until the authorities inform you that it’s safe to do so.
  • Once the clean up operation starts you need to make sure that you wear boots and gloves. Everything will need to be disinfected and thoroughly cleaned before being completely dried, and keep your eyes out for fungal damage over the coming days and weeks.
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