Are there ways to stop your home from getting carried away from a flood, or to protect you and your loved ones? Yes, there are. Preparing for a natural flood is something every household needs to consider, especially in this era of weird weather. Here are ten things you’ll need to do.
Get flood insurance
Homeowner’s insurance doesn’t cover flooding. You need separate flood insurance for that. Yes, it will cost extra money, but might be the only thing that can keep you afloat after a major flood. Disaster relief funds from the federal government are actually a loan you have to pay back, so don’t rely on those.
Build a flood kit
Any standard bug-out bag will work for a flood, but you should make sure you have two extra things. First, you need enough water for everyone in your family for at least three days. Second, a hand-crank radio will help you know where to go. Floods are unpredictable and you won’t know which roads will be out. Consider a paper map as well. Expect to be out of your home for 3-7 days. Floods longer than that are rare.
Know where your shelters are
If you know where the shelters are, you can head there immediately if you have to abandon your home. Talk with your local disaster planning officials to know where to go. By knowing in advance you can practice going there before the flood comes.
Store valuable or important items high
If you have a second floor, keep your important papers and precious items up there. They will have the greatest chance of surviving if you keep them above the flood waters. You should also have copies in your bug-out bag. You don’t want to be caught without identification and insurance paperwork.
Know the weather warnings
Floods use the same warnings as other weather patterns. A watch means you should be ready to flee if necessary. A warning means there is a flood and it’s time to either leave or shelter in place depending on your local situation. However, if there is a flash flood warning and you believe you are in the way, you must flee. Flash floods are the most deadly kind of flooding and can wash a house away in an instant.
Learn how to sandbag
If you’re going to use sandbags, here’s what you need to do. Fill them only two-thirds full of sand, fold the end over then place it with the open end down on the ground. Stack them like bricks. Place them in front of doors, foundation entrances, and garages. For one door, arrange the bags in a ring so you can open the door after the flood. Sandbags swell and get very heavy when wet. The time to put them out is when there is a flood watch.
Check your sump pump
If you have a basement, you need a sump pump. Check it monthly to make sure it works by pouring water down into the sump hole. Also, make sure it works on battery power.
Install a backflow preventer
Depending on the size of the flood and your town’s sewer system, water may try to back up through your pipes. By installing backflow preventers on your drain lines, you can stop this from happening. Consult with a plumber for proper installation.
Avoid touching flood water
You should do your best to avoid wading in flood water or driving through it. Your car is no protection when driving through flood water. In fact, many deaths from flooding happen because people try driving through it. Flood water also carries unknown contaminants as it flows. Avoid touching it as much as you can.
Know what to do after
Keep the number of a plumber, your gas company, and a water damage repair company in your area with your bugout bag in case you need them. Also, keep a camera so you can photograph any flood damage for your insurance company. Call them first after the flood for instructions.