Preparing for - and surviving - a flood
Government agencies have put out lists of ways people should prepare for — and how they should act during — a flood.
Flooding preparedness kit
The http://www.ready.gov website recommends the following items be included in any flood preparation kit, with many other items listed as items to consider:
- Water, one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation;
- Food, at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food;
- Battery-powered or hand crank radio and an NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both;
- Flashlight and extra batteries;
- First aid kit;
- Whistle to signal for help;
- Dust mask, to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place;
- Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation;
- Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities;
- Can opener for food (if kit contains canned food);
- Local maps; and
- Cellphone with chargers, inverter or solar charger.
During a flood
The Federal Emergency Management Agency website's flood hazard page lists several recommendations on preparing for, and surviving, a flood. If a flood is likely, local residents should:
- Listen to the radio or television for information.
- Be aware that flash flooding can occur. If there is any possibility of a flash flood, move immediately to higher ground. Do not wait for instructions to move.
- Be aware of streams, drainage channels, canyons and other areas known to flood suddenly.
- Flash floods can occur in these areas with or without such typical warnings as rain clouds or heavy rain.
Preparing to evacuate
- Secure the home, bringing in outdoor furniture if time allows, and moving essential items to an upper floor.
- Turn off utilities at the main switches or valves if instructed to do so. Disconnect electrical appliances. Do not touch electrical equipment while wet or standing in water.
- Do not walk through moving water. Six inches of moving water can make people fall. People who have to walk in water should walk where the water is not moving, using a stick to check the firmness of the ground.
- People should not drive into flooded areas. If floodwaters rise around a car, they should abandon the car and move to higher ground if it can be done so safely. People and vehicles can be quickly swept away.
Driving flood facts
The following are important points to remember when driving in flood conditions:
- Six inches of water will reach the bottom of most passenger cars causing loss of control and possible stalling.
- A foot of water will float many vehicles.
- Two feet of rushing water can carry away most vehicles including sport utility vehicles, or SUVs, and pickup trucks.
After a flood
- Listen for news reports to learn whether the community's water supply is safe to drink.
- Avoid floodwaters; water may be contaminated by oil, gasoline or raw sewage. Water may also be electrically charged from underground or downed power lines.
- Avoid moving water.
- Be aware of areas where floodwaters have receded. Roads may have weakened and could collapse under the weight of a car.
- Stay away from downed power lines, and report them to the power company.
- Return home only when authorities indicate it is safe.
- Stay out of any building if it is surrounded by floodwaters.
- Use extreme caution when entering buildings; there may be hidden damage, particularly in foundations.
- Service damaged septic tanks, cesspools, pits and leaching systems as soon as possible. Damaged sewage systems are serious health hazards.
- Clean and disinfect everything that got wet. Mud left from floodwater can contain sewage and chemicals.