Storms are one thing to prepare for, but what about when a flood is forecasted?
Heavy rainstorms are notorious for leaving many areas flooded and some counties declaring states of emergency. Basements, homes, schools, and commercial buildings are left with such extensive flooding that the remaining mess isn’t quite so easy to clean. Complicating matters even more are rising river and lake levels that may cause more near-future flooding and water damage.
Prevent Flood Damage
Hindsight is always 20/20 when it comes to any damaging event. With the exception of moving to a dry, arid climate free of rainfall (which of course comes with its own share of weather risks), avoiding Mother Nature’s raining wrath is usually out of your hands. Still, there are steps you can–and should!–take to help keep flood damage to a minimum, if not escape it altogether.
- Safeguard your home: Before rain is even in the forecast, defend your home from the potential of water damage by sealing your basement from any cracks around doors, in the foundation, or around windows. Install a sump pump and check it before rainy forecasts to make sure it is properly working. Run outdoor downspouts away from the foundation. Last, keep all personal possessions in watertight containers when possible.
- Power down: If flooding is forecasted, follow manufacturer instructions to shut down basement furnaces, exterior gas valves, and electricity to avoid fires and explosions. Disconnect electrical appliances (again, this is before flooding occurs and should ONLY happen if you can do so safely and not while in contact with water).
- Make a move: Relocate items, such as furniture, appliances, and personal possessions, above ground should a flood be imminent. Also move chemicals and toxic substances to avoid pollution in a flooded area. If flood levels are predicted to be high, be prepared with sandbags to help dam water from seeping into your home.
- Seek safety: Your safety and the safety of your family is more important than any of the possessions you own (even your home). If advised to do so, vacate your home and head to higher ground. Bring a pre-packed emergency kit, including a flashlight, batteries, cash, first aid supplies, cell phone, bottled water, snacks, and medications.
- Have a plan: An emergency plan is a must should a flood occur. As a family, discuss in advance what could happen in the event of a flood (or other natural disaster) and how each family member should respond. Include the steps above in your plan, as well as any other steps specific to your household. Make sure each person has a copy of the plan and practice it routinely together so that no one is caught off guard when and if it should be needed.