Flood Safety Tips

What to do before, during and after a flood

(RxWiki News) Do you live in a flood hazard area? If so, it's time to prepare for the worst and learn what to do in case of a flooding event.

Because flooding can happen with very little warning, it is important to be prepared — especially now that flood season is here.

Before the Flood

Keep two things in mind when preparing for a flood: family and property. Make sure everyone knows an out-of-state emergency contact, including the name, phone number and address. If there are people with special needs or disabilities in your household, notify the local authorities. Put important documents like your tetanus immunization record in a waterproof container and gather emergency supplies.

For your property, have water-removing equipment with backup power and a fire extinguisher ready. Anchor your outdoor equipment, install backflow valves for all water supply connections and install electric components 12 inches above the expected flooding level.

During the Flood

If possible, watch the news or listen to the radio for updates. Bring in any outdoor belongings. If evacuation is necessary, turn off the main power switch and close the gas valves. Once you've begun evacuating, keep away from floodwater:

  • Always follow warnings about flooded roads.
  • Never drive through floodwater. Even six inches of water is enough to knock you down or make you lose control of your vehicle.
  • If you need to be in or near floodwater, always wear a life jacket, especially if the water is rising.

If you are trapped in your vehicle in moving water, stay inside. If water starts rising inside, go to the roof of the vehicle. If you are trapped inside a building, go to the highest floor but avoid climbing into a closed attic. Escape to the roof only when necessary.

After the Flood

The storm may be over, but that doesn't mean danger is out of sight. Take the following precautions to keep yourself and your family safe after the storm:

  • Assume all floodwater is contaminated unless local health authorities say otherwise. If you are exposed to floodwater, be sure to wash your hands with soap and water. If soap and water are unavailable, use alcohol-based wipes or sanitizers.
  • Use only clean water that is from a bottle, boiled for more than 10 minutes or treated with a water disinfectant. Any food or drink contaminated with floodwater should be thrown away.
  • Prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. You can help prevent carbon monoxide poisoning by following these steps.
    • When using an engine or generator, keep it outside and at least 20 feet away from the house to prevent poisoning from carbon monoxide.
  • Wear proper protective gear, such as rubber gloves and boots, to avoid serious injuries.
  • Throw out any items that cannot be thoroughly cleaned with bleach, such as drywall, insulation, mattresses and carpeting. However, you may have to keep these before throwing them out to file an insurance claim. Answers to questions about the National Flood Insurance Program can be found here.