Flood Preparedness

Before a Flood

What would you do if your property were flooded? Are you prepared?

Even if you feel you live in a community with a low risk of flooding, remember that anywhere it rains, it can flood.  Just because you haven't experienced a flood in the past, doesn't mean you won't in the future.  Flood risk isn't just based on history; it's also based on a number of factors including rainfall , topography, flood-control measures, river-flow and tidal-surge data, and changes due to new construction and development.

Flood-hazard maps have been created to show the flood risk for your community, which helps determine the type of flood insurance coverage you will need since standard homeowners insurance doesn't cover flooding.  The lower the degree of risk, the lower the flood insurance premium.

In addition to having flood insurance, knowing following flood hazard terms will help you recognize and prepare for a flood.

To prepare for a flood, you should:

  • Build an emergency kit and make a family communications plan.
  • Avoid building in a floodplain unless you elevate and reinforce your home.
  • Elevate the furnace, water heater and electric panel in your home if you live in an area that has a high flood risk.
  • Consider installing "check valves" to prevent flood water from backing up into the drains of your home.
  • If feasible, construct barriers to stop floodwater from entering the building and seal walls in basements with waterproofing compounds.

During a Flood

If a flood is likely in your area, you 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 stream, drainage channels, canyons and other areas known to flood suddenly. Flash floods can occur in these areas with or without typical warnings such as rain clouds or heavy rain.

If you must prepare to evacuate, you should do the following:

  • Secure your home. If you have time, bring in outdoor furniture. Move 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 if you are wet or standing in water.

If you have to leave your home, remember these evacuation tips:

  • Do not walk through moving water. Six inches of moving water can make you fall. If you have to walk in water, walk where the water is not moving. Use a stick to check the firmness of the ground in front of you.
  • Do not drive into flooded areas. If floodwaters rise around your car, abandon the car and move to higher ground, when water is not moivng or not more than a few inches deep. You and the vehicle can be swept away quickly.  If your vehicle is trapped in rapidly moving water, stay in the vehicle. If the water is rising inside the vehicle, seek refuge on the roof.
  • Do not camp or park your vehicle along streams, rivers or creeks, particularly during threatening conditions.

After the Flood

Your home has been flooded. Although floodwaters may be down in some areas, many dangers still exist. Here are some things to remember in the days ahead:

  • Use local alerts and warning systems to get information and expert informed advice as soon as available.
  • Avoid moving water.
  • Stay away from damaged areas unless your assistance has been specifically requested by police, fire, or relief organization.
  • Emergency workers will be assisting people in flooded areas. You can help them by staying off the roads and out of the way.
  • Play it safe. Additional flooding or flash floods can occur. Listen for local warnings and information. If your car stalls in rapidly rising waters, get out immediately and climb to higher ground.
  • Return home only when authorities indicate it is safe.
  • Roads may still be closed because they have been damaged or are covered by water. Barricades have been placed for your protection. If you come upon a barricade or a flooded road, go another way.
  • If you must walk or drive in areas that have been flooded.
    • Stay on firm ground. Moving water only 6 inches deep can sweep you off your feet. Standing water may be electrically charged from underground or downed power lines.
    • Flooding may have caused familiar places to change. Floodwaters often erode roads and walkways. Flood debris may hide animals and broken bottles, and it's also slippery. Avoid walking or driving through it.
  • Be aware of areas where floodwaters have receded. Roads may have weakened and could collapse under the weight of a car.
  • 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.

Staying Healthy

A flood can cause physical hazards and emotional stress. You need to look after yourself and your family as you focus on cleanup and repair.

  • Avoid floodwaters; water may be contaminated by oil, gasoline or raw sewage.
  • Service damaged septic tanks, cesspools, pits and leaching systems as soon as possible. Damaged sewer systems are serious health hazards.
  • Listen for news reports to learn whether the community’s water supply is safe to drink
  • Clean and disinfect everything that got wet. Mud left from floodwaters can contain sewage and chemicals.
  • Rest often and eat well.
  • Keep a manageable schedule. Make a list and do jobs one at a time.
  • Discuss your concerns with others and seek help. Contact Red Cross for information on emotional support available in your area.

Cleaning Up and Repairing Your Home

  • Turn off the electricity at the main breaker or fuse box, even if the power is off in your community. That way, you can decide when your home is dry enough to turn it back on.
  • Get a copy of the book Repairing Your Flooded Home (737KB PDF) which is available free from the American Red Cross or your state or local emergency manager. It will tell you:
    • How to enter your home safely.
    • How to protect your home and belongings from further damage.
    • How to record damage to support insurance claims and requests for assistance.
    • How to check for gas or water leaks and how to have service restored.
    • How to clean up appliances, furniture, floors and other belongs.
  • The Red Cross can provide you with a cleanup kit: mop, broom, bucket, and cleaning supplies.
  • Contact your insurance agent to discuss claims.
  • Listen to your radio for information on assistance that may be provided by the state or federal government or other organizations.
  • If you hire cleanup or repair contractors, check references and be sure they are qualified to do the job. Be wary of people who drive through neighborhoods offering help in cleaning up or repairing your home.

While spring brings the promise of warm weather and longer days, it also brings a variety of conditions that can include heavy rains, severe weather, and rapid snowmelt that can increase your flood risk.

Don't be caught off guard, get the facts and know the risks. Take action to protect yourself, your family, your business, and your finances—before a weather event occurs and it's too late.

Use the tools here to learn the steps you can take before, during and after a flood to prepare yourself and your family.

Interactive Flood Risk Resources

For more information about floods, risk of financial loss due to flooding, and flood insurance check out

Recommended Training

To promote Flood Safety Awareness, FEMA's Emergency Management Institute (EMI) has developed a series of training programs to encourage flood safety. This guide provides readers with an easy way to identify and access self-paced courses designed for people who have emergency management responsibilities and the general public.

Printer Friendly Information You Can Use & Share

FEMA has developed these resources to educate and inform communities about the importance of flood safety awareness.

Outreach Toolkit Materials

As a leader in public information response to emergency situations, the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) has developed this valuable tool designed to assist your efforts to educate and inform communities about the importance of flood insurance coverage.




Cleaning Up Your Home After A Flood



Flooding is one of the most common types of natural disasters to strike homes in America. It may be caused by heavy rains, storm surges or tidal waves caused by larger events out at sea. While in some cases, homeowners may be able to defend their property from the resulting water damage, but in others, it is unavoidable. In the event that a home is damaged by a flood, it's necessary to clean and repair parts of the home that have been affected. These parts include the basement, furniture, appliances, the ceilings, walls and the floors.

In a flooded home, the basement is likely to be one of the first areas hit and the most heavily in need of cleaning. If there are windows in the basement, open them up to let fresh air in. If there are no windows, place fans in the basement to help the air circulate. Fans can also be used to help the room dry quickly. Turn off the electricity before entering and take a flashlight if needed. Remove any standing water from the area using a sump pump; ideally, one that is not gas-powered.

Once the water has been removed, the homeowner will need to shovel out any mud from the basement. A high pressure hose can be used to remove dirt stains, or a stiff brush and detergent may be used for hard-to-remove stains. Use clean water to completely wash everything that has been submerged under water. After everything has been washed using the plain water, repeat using a bucket of hot soapy water. Once again, the water that is left should be pumped away or sucked away with a shop-vac. After the basement has been washed, the next step is to disinfect. A mixture that consists of a gallon of water and 1/2 cup of chlorine bleach should be used. Scrub down all areas, dip small items or spray surfaces using a sprayer from the garden.


Furniture

Using latex gloves, remove any undamaged items of furniture from the basement and place them outside to dry thoroughly to prevent mold and mildew from forming. Assess what is salvageable and what is not. Furniture that is made of porous materials should be discarded, as they will absorb contaminated water and/or develop mold that is difficult or impossible to remove. Furniture with stuffing, or made of leather or fabric, are examples of porous furniture items. Pillows and mattresses are examples of furniture items that should be thrown away. Other types of furniture should be placed outside, cleaned of mud or other debris by wiping down or spraying with a hose. The furniture should then be wiped down with a mixture of water and antibacterial soap.

Ceiling and Walls

After a flood, remove any wet drywall, paneling and plaster as it can act like a sponge. Any drywall that is not wet should be wiped with soapy warm water and sanitized with a mixture made of one tablespoon of bleach and one gallon of water. If the flood water is non-contaminated rain water, allowing air to dry the sills and studs can help in salvaging the plaster and panels in the wall. Insulation in the walls will also need to be checked. Throw away soiled fiberglass insulation. Replace cellulose and hose off fiberglass insulation. Do not replace the insulation until the interior of the wall is completely dry, which can take as long as six weeks. In terms of the ceiling, check for any swelling of the wallboard due to humidity. Insulation may need to be replaced and/or replacement of the ceiling may be called for.

Floors

How one cleans the floors in a flooded home depends on the type of flooring. If the home is a carpeted one, both the carpet and the pad must be removed as flood water will have saturated it. Bacteria in the flood water can create problems that may affect the health of people who live in the home. Tiles that are made of clay or ceramic typically withstand flood conditions. They should be cleaned using warm soapy water and then sanitized with a solution that is made of one gallon of water and one tablespoon of bleach. People will also need to check the sub-flooring to see if it is wet. If wet, the tile may need to be removed to aid in the drying of the subfloor. This can result in problems that will eventually lead to the removal of the tiles. Wood flooring generally does not fare well when subjected to flood waters. Water can cause swelling and be extremely difficult to dry. Keep in mind that if flooring has asbestos, even as little as one percent, then it will need to be removed according to certain laws.

Appliances

Great care should be taken when handling appliances following a flood. Because of their proximity to the floor, damage is a possibility and the need for proper cleaning a necessity. People should not turn on their appliances until they have been thoroughly dried, clean and sanitized and maintenance has been performed. Ideally, homeowners should not attempt to clean their own appliances. Take items such as dishwashers, washing machines, electronics and more to qualified professionals for cleaning.


Thanks to:  The Girl Scout Troop for suggesting this information.


Written by on Dec 8, 2014

Featured on: http://www.improvenet.com/