How to Stay Safe Throughout a Flood
Floods are the most dangerous natural disaster in the United States—more hazardous than tornadoes or earthquakes, according to the National Flood Insurance Program’s official website. You can keep your family safe from disaster, however, by following safety precautions before, during and after a flood. Prepare your family this Flood Safety Awareness Week, March 15—March 21, with these safety tips.
Before a Flood
Assign each family member a disaster role, such as food gatherer and emergency kit preparer. The emergency kit should include enough water, food and medicine to last your family for three days. Consider bringing a first-aid kit, a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio (NWR), a few blankets and a flashlight. When forced out of your home for several days, this emergency kit allows your family to survive while away.
During a Flood
Obey evacuation orders. If you’re forced to evacuate, be sure to lock your home as you leave and disconnect any electronics if time allows. Following these steps helps keep the belongings inside your home safe during the flood. After leaving your home, move to higher ground as soon as possible.
Remember not to walk or drive through flood water—it only takes 6 inches of flooding water to sweep you off your feet. If you become trapped in moving water, keep moving to the highest point possible and call 911. The faster that your family can reach dry, floodless land, the safer you will be.
After a Flood
Dangers are still prevalent after a flood. Stay tuned to your NWR and the local news for updates, listening for the “all clear”—an authoritative order allowing entry to flood-damaged homes and buildings. As you return home, ensure that your water supply is safe to use for drinking, cooking and cleaning.
Make sure your home electrical system has been turned off as well. Don’t hesitate to contact your power company or a qualified electrician to check the system as water may have damaged the system, increasing your risk of electrical shock. Remember to submit a property damage claim with your insurance agent as soon as possible. Your agent can then serve as a resource for practical home-rebuilding steps that will keep your family safe.