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Each year, devastating rain, and flooding affect hundreds of thousands of people across the country. Sadly, many of the incidents of injury and death connected to flood events can be prevented by being prepared and taking action upon hearing of a watch or warning.

While the thought of uprooting your family and leaving precious possessions behind is a daunting one, you may only have minutes to prepare for evacuation as you hear news of an impending disaster. Consider taking these steps, no matter what the outcome, to protect yourself and your loved ones from the potentially dangerous and deadly consequences of flooding:

1. Be on the lookout for watches and warnings in your area

Knowing that you live in an area that is prone to flooding, you’ll need to stay tuned and connected to sources that disclose flood watches and warnings. Be prepared to act quickly as you consider whether to fortify your home or move your family to safety. Always follow the advice of local law enforcement officials and emergency response teams, as they are trained to assess potential crises and offer sound advice on what will keep you and your family safe from harm.

2. Prepare before any watches and warnings are issued

In cases of flooding, even a few extra minutes spent gathering supplies could have disastrous consequences. It is essential to prepare yourself for a flood in advance and taking these steps will ensure that you can get to safety without additional complications. Start by taking these action steps today:

  • Name a point of contact for your family members that everyone can call in case you become separated.
  • Plan several evacuation routes and communicate them to family members.
  • Put together an emergency kit with first aid materials, batteries, and other items you may need when you are on the go.
  • Pack “essentials” bags for all family members and pets.
  • Stock up on non-perishable food and water; prepare to take some of this with you if you evacuate.
  • Charge all electronics you intend to bring with you and remember to pack charging cords.
  • Watch and listen to weather reports for updates on the conditions in your area.

When mere minutes could save your life, it is essential to have your emergency plan ready to go, making sure that all your loved ones are informed.

3. Prepare to leave your home behind if necessary

Preparing your home before you evacuate may seem like an unnecessary step, but it is the most proactive thing you can do to protect your home and belongings. If you have the time, consider filling and placing sandbags around the perimeter of your property to redirect water away from your home. You may have to shut off utilities and have a plumber install check valves in your home to prevent water from backing up into sinks and drains. Do what you can to raise valuables off the ground floor in your home, and do not plan to return until local law enforcement and emergency teams determine that it’s safe to do so. As you seek temporary shelter, know that possessions can be replaced, your home can be repaired, but your loved ones need your support and protection at this time.

4. Approach navigating floodwaters with caution

It is not advised to attempt driving through floodwaters to get to safety, but in some cases, it just cannot be helped. In cases where you must drive through floodwaters for a short time, remember these safety tips:

  • Look to other cars as a guide to determine how deep water is
  • Don’t speed, stop, or slow down while driving. Stay slow and as steady as possible as you try to reach dry pavement.
  • Avoid water that has come in contact with downed power lines.
  • Keep a watchful eye for floating objects that could smash into your car.
  • If the water becomes too high, exit your car through the windows and get to the rooftop. Call others to ask for help immediately.
  • Do not attempt to swim through, bathe in, or drink flood water while navigating.

5. Review your insurance coverage

Most homeowner’s policies will not cover water damage due to flooding, especially if your home is in a flood-prone zone. In the past, federal flood insurance programs were the only option for people who wanted to proactively protect themselves against catastrophic flood damage.

With Neptune Flood, you have not only peace of mind that comes with comprehensive coverage, but you have a private insurance company that will give you options for insurance that fit you, your home, and your unique needs. Don’t put off the important work of protecting yourself and your family from disaster. Contact us today for more information and a complimentary quote, and gain the peace of mind that comes with proactive preparation.

Original article published June 2018. Updated content and references February 2022.