Statistics show that nearly 300,000 Americans are displaced by flooding each year. Floodwaters can strike suddenly and without warning, leaving you at risk for loss, injury, and even death. Taking a flood warning seriously is a life-saving action that you can do to protect your family against harm, and while you may suffer the loss of possessions and property in the process, what really matters is being able to protect your loved ones.
If you live in an area that is prone to flooding during periods of heavy rain, it’s essential to be prepared for the worst. Stay connected to emergency broadcast systems via your cellphone, radio, and television, heeding watches and warnings that are being issued. Know the difference between a “watch” and a “warning”, and how much time that means you have to prepare to move your family to a different location.
Have emergency supplies on hand that accommodate you and your family members. Food, water, emergency medical supplies, and other survival equipment should be assembled and ready to go even before flood watches strike. Having to grab these items in the middle of a crisis will create anxiety and chaos in the midst of having to get to safety.
After Calls to Evacuate
An essential part of safety during a flood disaster is having a plan. You and your loved ones need to craft an evacuation plan with several different alternatives to finding a safe and secure place to land. Ensure that all family members know of these locations and how to get there in case you become separated. If necessary, call your local Red Cross ahead of time to find their suggestions for evacuation routes and safe zones; use this data to create your own plan that ensures your safety.
Moving Towards Higher Ground
Many of us do not have the resources needed to hole up for days, weeks, or months at a hotel while we get back on track. Evacuation orders have been issued, and now you find yourself gathering up valuables and needed items and moving toward safety zones. These safety zones are likely to set up temporary shelters for individuals and families that have been displaced where you can stay free of charge. Consider the fact that others will also be moving toward these temporary shelters, and it will be necessary to prepare for this stay to ensure the sanity and safety of you, your loved ones, and perhaps your belongings. While a stay in a temporary shelter is not an ideal situation for any family, this may be a necessary step in finding your way back home again. Take these steps to make your temporary housing situation safe and comfortable, no matter what the duration of your displacement may be.
1. Make Provisions for Pets if You Can
If you have pets, see what you can do to secure a place at a pet-friendly shelter. Space is at a premium for those with furry family members, so arrive prepared to care for your pet with all the essentials, including:
- Enough pet food for at least 3 days
- Water and a bowl or other receptacle
- Crate or carrier for your pet
- Litter box and litter for cats
- Garbage bags
- Any pet medications your pet may need
- Favorite toys, blankets
- Proof of immunization
Many shelters will not allow your pet if you do not have a crate or carrier for them. It may be possible for you to have your pet with you for the duration of your stay; ask shelter staff what rules are in place to provide comfort and safety for you and your pet.
2. Come Prepared with Your Emergency Supplies
In an emergency, it cannot be expected that all your basic needs will be supplied. In this case, a little planning will be necessary to ensure a reasonable level of comfort during your shelter stay. You will need to pack enough personal effects for you and each family member for up to a week, including:
- Non-perishable food and snacks
- Sheets, blankets
- Childcare necessities
- Personal hygiene items
- Valid forms of ID, important documents
- Glasses and contacts
- Phone charging cords, contact list
- Drinking water
- Books and games
Having these items prepared beforehand will reduce the stress of gathering everything up as you make your way toward safety. It may not be an easy process to pack everything needed for your stay, but the more diligent you are about organizing, the more comfortable you will be during an uncertain time.
3. Avoid Bringing Certain Items with You
You are likely to be in the company of several other families and individuals who are equally as uncomfortable about their new accommodations. Avoid bringing the following items with you to maintain a peaceful environment:
- Loud or noisy electronics
- Jewelry, valuables, or large amounts of cash
- Illegal drugs and alcohol
- Firearms and other weapons
If your shelter is run by a city or local law enforcement, you would likely be asked to turn these items over as you start your stay to reduce incidents of conflict and opportunities for criminal activity. All who are staying in your emergency shelter must abide by simple rules of courtesy and the common good. No one desires to be displaced by a catastrophic flood, only to share close quarters with others in a very stressful situation. You all must work together to make your stay as peaceful as possible.
Know That Better Days Are Ahead
While you can’t plan the outcome of every potential natural disaster, you can plan to provide for your family at a difficult time. At Neptune Flood, we know how important it is to know that you are covered when you need it most. Affordable coverage plans cater to your unique situation, giving you peace of mind that no matter what the storm, we can help you rebuild again after the floodwaters recede. Contact us today for a quote, and know that you are providing the best possible outcome for your family, no matter what the future holds.
Original article published August 2018. Updated content and references January 2022.