Flood disasters affect thousands of people each year, displacing families, causing devastating property losses, and even resulting in injury and death. If you live in an area prone to flooding, a failure to plan will surely result in loss of some kind. While it might be difficult to predict when a flood will occur, you can take steps to ensure that you and your family are safe in times of emergency. Setting yourself up with some basic emergency supplies and taking the right steps to protect both loved ones and property will make weathering any disaster a bit easier. Read on to see how you can prepare yourself for both expected and unforeseen flooding.
Prep Your Home
Even though you may need to leave your home in a flood emergency, you can take steps to protect your property and minimize damage. Prepare to turn off all utilities whether you shelter in place or evacuate and have supplies on hand to get through this difficult time. Buy and install a sump pump with backup power sources to keep water out of your basement if possible.
If you are able, have an electrician raise all electrical components such as switches, sockets, wiring, and circuit breakers at least 12 inches above your home’s anticipated flood elevation. Install backflow valves or plugs on all drains, toilets, and sewer connections to protect floodwater from entering your home.
Buy fire extinguishers, and make sure they are in good working order in the event you need to use them. Anchor all exterior and interior fuel tanks that can contaminate your property if they are torn free.
Evaluating Watches and Warnings
If you find yourself under a flood watch or warning, gather emergency supplies needed and stay tuned to your local television and radio station for updates. Prepare to turn off utilities and have vehicles packed and prepped to move to higher ground. Consider gathering the following basic supplies for your emergency:
- Water–at least a gallon a day per person
- Non-perishable food that can be eaten with minimal preparation
- Flashlights and batteries
- First aid kit and medical supplies
- Wet wipes and garbage bags
- Whistle to signal for help
- Cell phones and chargers, backup batteries
- Clothes and personal care items
- Blankets, pillows
- Battery-powered radio
- Cash, traveler’s checks
- Sturdy, comfortable shoes
If you have family members with additional personal care or medical needs, you’ll need to expand your kit to include items like prescription medications, hygiene products, aspirin, and water purification tablets if you run low on your emergency supply.
As much hassle as it may be to think about taking important paperwork with you, this is one of the biggest regrets that people have after finding themselves unprepared for a flood disaster. You’ll need to take all important identification and documents with you so they are not damaged in the flood, as they may be difficult to replace after the disaster has passed. Put all the following in a waterproof container and prepare to take with you until you can return home:
- Deeds, insurance policies
- All investment documentation
- Bank account numbers, credit card information
- Birth, marriage, and death documentation
- Social security cards and passports
Don’t Forget Those Pets!
Your pet is a precious member of your family, and he/she will need to be accounted for as well to ensure safety and survival. Remember to pack all medications and vet records, as well as a week’s worth of food and water for your pet. Food bowls, a leash, and clean-up supplies are all needed for the pet’s comfort and safety in an unsure time, and these will help manage all your family affairs a bit easier.
Keep Your Kits Up to Date
If you’ve been lucky enough to escape a flood event for several seasons, you’ll still need to re-evaluate your kit and supplies regularly to see if items are still viable. Storing items in airtight plastic bags will make them last longer. Stored food and water should be changed out every six months, so it stays fresh. Similarly, check your pet’s food to make sure it hasn’t spoiled–the last thing you need to deal with in an emergency is an ill pet.
Many people struggle with finding the best place to store emergency supplies, so they are accessible to all. The reality is that you don’t know where you’ll be when disaster strikes, so you should prepare supplies for home, work, and your vehicles.
Have your kit ready to go, and make sure all family members know where bags are located so you can access needed materials efficiently.
You might find yourself having to shelter in place at work for more than a few days. A work kit should be filled with food, water, needed medications, and comfortable clothing that will get you through.
Keep emergency supplies in your car if you are transient or stranded. Carry jumper cables, reflective equipment, sand for traction, an ice scraper, and a cell phone charger in addition to food and water that can sustain you while you search for higher, safer ground.
Preparation is the Best Strategy
Emergency preparation is a great strategy for possible disasters, but there is simply no substitute for insurance coverage when it comes to planning and preventing loss. Neptune Flood Insurance combines cutting-edge mathematical algorithms with affordable flood insurance plans that will protect you, your home, and help you get your life back on track after a flood. Don’t deal with clean up after a devastating loss; let Neptune Flood help you recover your precious property and get on with life once more. Contact us today for an affordable quote; visit our website for more information.
Original article published December 2018. Updated content and references April 2022.