Tips for Thought

A flood is a rush of water that usually submerges dry land. Flooding occurs because of many reasons. Some of these reasons include the following:

  • Excess rain from tropical storm systems;
  • Persistent thunderstorms in the same area for an extended period;
  • Combination of rainfall and snowmelt
  • An abnormal rise in water level (i.e., overflowing rivers)
  • Blockages of waterways by debris, trash, ice, etc.;
  • Broken water systems; and
  • Lack of vegetation

Flooding can occur anywhere in the world. This occurrence is dangerous because it can destroy lives, property, and resources. Live through the storm with these flooding survival tips:

What To Do Before a Flood:

1. Get connected to flood updates. Radio, news segments, weather news, and app updates are readily available for residents in flood-prone areas. Keep updated on the news to get ready.

2. Assemble a flood survival kit. These include the following materials:

  • Drinking water in clean containers;
  • Canned goods and food for pets;
  • Cash and important documents;
  • First-aid;
  • Battery-powered radios and flashlights;
  • Extra batteries;
  • Candles;
  • Matches or lighters;
  • Tent;
  • Floatation devices;
  • Raincoats, umbrellas, and extra clothes; and
  • A bucket or pail

3. Trim trees and shrubs. Overhanging branches and debris in gutters can lead to faster flooding. Keep outside drainage clean before the rain hits.

4. Look for an evacuation site. Authorities may deem certain areas to be safe. However, it helps to look for other places out of town or state. Identify travel routes prone to flooding and stay away from them when evacuating.

5. Fill your car with gas. It also helps to pack emergency fuel in proper containers.

6. Review the evacuation plan with your loved ones. Discuss flood plans, designate a contact person in case members get separated, and decide on a possible meeting place if one gets separated.

7. Rearrange some of your property. Move valuables, furniture, and dangerous materials (oil, pesticides, etc.) to higher ground.

8. Turn off all electrical appliances and power. This step also includes water, gas, and electrical services. Do not touch any electrical outlet or device if you are wet.

9. Secure outdoor possessions or furniture indoors or tie them down.

10. Seal the vents of basements to prevent flooding.

11. If you plan to evacuate ahead, lock all doors and windows.

What To Do During a Flood:

Here are some survival tips to remember if you are stuck in an area, and it starts to flood:

1. If it’s a flash flood, move to higher ground immediately. Flash floods can occur in a few minutes or hours after heavy rainfall.

2. Monitor your surroundings. Stay away from electrical outlets, and avoid puddles or wet surfaces that can cause a fall.

3. Turn on your radio. Stay updated and alert on updates.

4. Keep calm. If you are a parent, avoid panicking. Keeping a cool head helps you reason and make sound judgments.

5. If driving on the road, only go on recommended routes.

6. Watch out for disaster areas, washed-out roads, landslides, damaged trees, and powerlines.

7. Be cautious at night. Lack of light makes it harder to spot flooding areas.

8. If water rises around your car, leave immediately, and get to higher ground.

9. Never drive through flooded roadways. Turn around and leave. A few inches of water can result in you losing control of your vehicle.

10. Avoid walking or swimming through flowing water. Doing so may result in losing your balance and getting swept away by the water and strong winds.

11. If someone falls into flood water, toss a floatation device at them and turn off electricity at the circuit breakers. Do not go after them.

What To Do After a Flood:

The worst is over, and it’s time to wait until the area is deemed safe to return. Here are some tips to follow after the flood:

1. Monitor the weather. Turn on the battery-powered radio for updates.

2. Avoid entering buildings before authorities deem them safe.

3. Administer first-aid if necessary or go to a hospital.

4. Wear sturdy shoes to avoid stepping on debris during the inspection.

5. Use battery-powered flashlights during an inspection. Candle fires could set off sparks.

6. Check for fire hazards like damaged gas lines and flooded electrical currents. Call a professional for repair.

7. Check for any gas leaks. If you smell gas or hear it hissing, open a window and immediately leave the building. You can turn off the gas at the outside valve and call authorities for potential fires.

8. Report broken power lines to authorities.

9. Take pictures of the damage. If you have insurance, make sure you file a claim soon.

10. Clean up your home. 

Here are some aftermath cleaning tips:

  • Throw away flood-damaged items, even canned goods;
  • Open windows and doors for ventilation;
  • Never inspect electrical boxes yourself and ask for a professional; Clean and disinfect any wet and dirty surfaces;
  • Throw away fallen debris or keep them away from harm’s way; Check for possible sewage system damages; and
  • Caution children from playing in flooded areas.

Takeaway: Floods can happen anywhere in the world. While it can cause immense property damage, nothing is more important than your safety and the safety of your loved ones. Always prioritize your life over your possessions. Stay safe and dry.