Flooding is a prevalent problem in the United States. On average, urban flooding events occur every 2-3 days and result in millions of dollars in losses. Flood-related injuries and deaths are often the results of individuals trapped in floodwaters. So, the best way to stay safe is to leave the flooded areas and steer clear of floodwaters. This is all a part of flood safety drill exercises.
Telling your loved ones what to do under such circumstances is crucial. Hence, ensure your family can protect themselves during floods.
Has your area received a flood warning? Then evacuate the property at the earliest to avoid being trapped indoors. Evacuating the premises before flooding starts can save lives.
Pay heed to the directions from local officials for community evacuation. Also, you can seek high ground for localized flooding. But not everyone is able to evacuate before the flooding occurs. And flash flooding may trap some people. If you face such a problem, don’t enter flooded areas or moving water either on foot or in a vehicle. This includes areas that seem to have only a few inches of water.
Property Protection for Flood Safety Drill
Prepare your property for potential flooding to reduce the risk of critical damages. So, you should elevate utilities such as electrical panels, switches, sockets, wiring, appliances, and heating systems.
Waterproofing basements can also save you from trouble. Make sure your sump pump is in working condition. Install a battery-operated backup in case of a power failure. Also, installing a water alarm will inform you when water starts accumulating in your basement.
In areas with frequent flooding, elevating the entire structure can be a good idea. Clear debris from roof gutters and downspouts. Don’t forget to anchor fuel tanks. Move furniture, valuables, and important documents to a safe place.
Pay Attention to Flood Warning
Flooding in your area can be a possibility. So, be ready to vacate upon short notice. Tune in to NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards, local radio, or TV stations to stay aware of flood alerts. Weather reports also inform you about flash flooding disasters. The same flood safety drill practices can help you out.
How to Protect Yourself Before a Flood
Know the Risk
Keep an eye on flood risk information. You should find out whether the areas where you live, work, or commute are prone to flooding. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) creates flood maps (Flood Insurance Rate Maps, or FIRMs) to guide communities. So, consult these maps to know about high, moderate-to-low, and undetermined risk areas.
Receiving timely information about weather emergencies can make the difference in knowing when to take safety actions.
Be aware of your evacuation routes. Plan your transportation and find a place to stay. The safest way to survive a flood is to evacuate the area when necessary. Plan ahead so you can act quickly when the need arises.
Practice the Flood Safety Drill
In a dangerous situation, the safety of your loved ones is your priority. So, practice how you will communicate with them. In case you are not together when authorities issue a flood watch or flood warning, practice how you will contact each other.
Sending texts is often faster than making phone calls. So, note down important numbers on a piece of paper and keep it in your wallet. During an emergency, you may fail to reach local contacts due to signal issues. So, keep an out-of-town contact as a backup or use social media. Also, decide where your household members will meet after the flood.
When it’s time to evacuate, you may not remember which items you should take along. So, prepare an item list and keep emergency supplies in a separate bag. This way, you can easily grab the bag and leave without delays.
Here are a few emergency supplies you may need for your disaster kit:
- One gallon clean water per person, per day
- Water filter bottle or water purification tablets
- Radio and extra batteries
- First aid kit for minor injuries
- Hygiene items and toiletries
- Non-perishable, easy-to-consume food items
- Extra clothes
- Food for kids and pets
- Important documents
You may have people with you with disabilities or special needs such as older adults or children. So, remember to include specialized items for them. For a full list of supplies for your emergency supply kit, you can visit the government website.
Get Flood Insurance
Taking precautionary measures can manage your risk. And buying a flood insurance policy can protect you from financial losses. Talk to your insurance agent about buying suitable flood insurance. Whether you’re a homeowner, tenant, or business owner, you can buy one.
Make sure you share your flood safety drill with family members, friends, and neighbors.
Flood Safety Drill: How to Evacuate
When authorities advise you to evacuate, do so immediately. Let’s memorize the Five Ps of Evacuation: People, Prescriptions, Paper, Personal Needs, and Priceless Items.
Don’t panic if you failed to leave the area before the flooding and you got trapped. Call 911 and give them your location so they can help you out.
When in a building, go to its highest level. Stay away from basements and lower floors. But don’t climb into closed attics as rising floodwater may trap you inside. Go to your roof if necessary and signal for help.
When in a vehicle with floodwater blocking your evacuation route, find out if you can safely turn around. If there’s a way, then turn around. And go to a building on higher grounds. Also, if your vehicle is trapped in rapidly moving water, then stay in the vehicle. If water rises inside the vehicle, then seek refuge on the roof.
When outdoors, move to higher ground. Try to climb on a sturdy object to stay out of floodwater.