How to Prepare for a Flood

February 10, 2019

Floods are one of the most dangerous and common natural disasters in the world. 

In fact, floods cause billions of dollars of damages every year in the U.S. alone. So how are you supposed to prepare for something like this?

If you know what to do, you can keep your property and your family safe during a flood. Keep reading below to learn how to prepare for a flood. 

Find Your Flood Risk 

You don’t have to live near the ocean to be at risk of a flood. In fact, any state or territory in the U.S. can be in danger of flooding in the right circumstances. 

So find out what type of flood risk your area has. You can do this by checking flood maps or by calling your county planning division. They’ll be able to tell you if you live in a floodplain or not. 

Plan an Evacuation Route

Make sure you know the best ways in and out of your neighborhood. Knowing how to navigate through your neighborhood can potentially save your life during a flood. 

Plan a few different routes in case some are blocked or inaccessible when the time comes to evacuate. 

Local authorities will tell you whether you have to leave your area during a flood. Sometimes evacuation is voluntary, but in case the evacuation is mandatory, make sure you’re ready to leave right away.

Have an Out-of-State Family Contact 

Talk with one of your family members who live in a different state about being your out-of-state contact in the event of a flood. If you don’t have any family out of state, choose someone who lives out of your geographical area. 

You can get in touch with this person during a flood to let them know if you’re safe.

It’s also important to have an out-of-state contact during a flood in case you have to pass along information to a third party. By messaging your contact, you can ensure someone who’s safe has your information. 

Create Emergency Supply Kits

You should put together at least three different emergency supply kits. Put one in your home, one in your car, and one at your place of work. Make sure they’re easy to grab so you’re not scrambling to find them when it floods. 

Your emergency kits should be personalized to your family. But you should always include water, non-perishable food, first aid kits, maps, flashlights, pet supplies, and any necessary medications. 

Outside of your emergency kits, you should also store extra supplies, such as food, water, medication, etc. Keep this in a high place that won’t get damaged by floodwater. 

If you live in a place that floods often, you may even want to stockpile emergency building materials, like plywood, nails, hammers, shovels, plastic sheets, sandbags, saws, and crowbars.

Backup Important Documents

Make sure you have a copy of any important documents. This includes things like birth certificates, insurance policies, leases, social security information, priceless photos, etc. 

It’s a good idea to save these documents to your computer and upload them to the cloud. This way you’ll be able to access them anywhere you have internet.

Turn off Your Power, Gas, and Water

If you’re planning to evacuate your home for a flood, make sure you turn off the power, gas, and water before you leave. 

Not planning to leave?

You may want to turn off your power anyway. Standing water and electricity aren’t a good mix. 

Raise Your Appliances 

Floodwater can seriously damage your home appliances. Do your best to raise your appliances off the ground to protect them from flooding. Make sure you do this for things like washers, dryers, refrigerators, dishwashers, air conditioners, and furnaces. 

This might not be something you can do on your own. If you live in an area that floods often, hire a professional to raise your appliances and your electrical outlets. 

But, you can move other, smaller items upstairs to keep them safe. This could mean anything from your TV to your computers.

Install a Sump Pump and Backflow Valves

A sump pump will dispell any water that gathers in your basement. Backflow valves will prevent water from flowing into your home through your pipes. 

If you live in an area that floods often, you should install both these things in your home. They’ll help protect your home from sustaining a lot of water damage in the event of a flood. 

Waterproof the Basement 

You can coat the walls of your basement with a waterproof sealer which will help keep water from getting inside. 

Again, you might not have time to do this if a flood is already on the way. But you should talk to a professional about waterproofing your basement if floods are common in your area.

Secure Any Outdoor Items

While you’re getting your house ready, don’t forget the items you store outside. If you don’t secure these items, they might float away during the flood. 

Make sure you tie outdoor benches, grills, tables, and other furniture to trees or other secure objects. You can also move these things inside to protect them and minimize your risk of losing them. 

Buy Flood Insurance 

Buying flood insurance is the best way to protect yourself financially during a flood. You can get this insurance anywhere in the country, regardless of where you live. 

This insurance will help you recover from any damages your home and possessions receive. 

If you live in a high-risk flooding area, flood insurance might be expensive. But this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t buy it. Flood insurance will be well worth the price after a flood. 

How to Prepare for a Flood 

As you think about how to prepare for a flood, remember, your and your family’s safety should be your main priority. If you don’t have time to get your house ready for a flood, focus on gathering the supplies your family will need while evacuating. 

And make sure you have flood insurance. This will make the recovery process a lot cheaper, easier, and manageable. 

Not sure where to get flood insurance? Click here to find out how we can help you.