Tips for Surviving a Flood

Tips for Surviving a Flood

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. Learning how to prepare for a flood can mean the difference between safety and tragedy, so here are a few key points on how to prepare both yourself and your loved ones for a flood.


So, what is a flood? Floods can be caused by a number of different reasons—in some areas, floods naturally occur during rainy seasons, and in other areas, flooding may begin when a river suddenly rises due to a powerful storm. Some floods are minor, and last for a few hours, while others last for days, and they’re actually strong enough to damage homes, roads and bridges—swift floodwaters can even carry away cars and people too.

Preparing for a flood

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. Ensure that you have access to a first aid kit, emergency blankets, a battery-powered radio and waterproof clothing and shoes. 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. You can work with an electrician or an engineer to check out your house for any potential hazards that could cause damage during a flood. For example, placing backflow valves on all sewer connections can prevent floodwaters from entering these connections. Also, all circuits and wiring should be placed at least a foot or so above the project flood evaluation for your home.

During the flood?

Knowing what to do during a flood is relatively simple. Pay attention to any evacuation orders. If you’re not evacuated but floodwaters 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.

After the flood?

Once the floodwaters recede, all that’s left to do is begin the cleanup process. Because your appliances and electrical wiring might be exposed to wiring, 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 floodwaters 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. You should also check out these emergency restoration tips provided by Aer Industries, who provide equipment to flood damage professionals, here. Their infographic provides a helpful checklist of things to do after a flood has struck.

By preparing in advance, you can increase your and your family’s likelihood of remaining safe during a flooding event. By stockpiling key supplies, working with your local utility companies and by following the CDC’s advice on flood preparation, you can make sure your household is fully prepared for both minor and major floods.

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