5 Tips for Preparing for Floods

Learn About Floods

WHN TIP – Get the FEMA App: Download the free FEMA Alert App to get severe weather alerts, maps of disaster resources and other helpful information in case of natural disasters. Information is in English and Spanish and available for Apple, Android, and Blackberry mobile devices.

Create an Emergency Evacuation Plan

WHN TIP – Evacuate! Need to go? Ready.gov has tips on its Evacuation page. Map safe road routes inland to higher ground. You may need to drive 20 to 50+ miles inland to locate a safe place.

  1. Create an emergency exit plan for your home. In the event of rising waters, you’ll need to exit in a hurry.
    • Designate a place for the family to meet outside the neighborhood. Make sure all family members know the address and phone number.
  2. Plan in advance where to go if you are asked to evacuate your home. Take some time to really think about it; consider more than one option such as a relative’s home, a hotel, or a shelter.
    • Know where emergency shelters are located. Contact your local emergency management office or Red Cross for information on designated public shelters.
    • Know the emergency response plan for your workplace, your children’s school or child care center, as well as other places where your family spends time (i.e. church, gym, rec center).
  3. Learn safe routes to higher ground. You may need to drive 20 to 50 miles to locate a safe place. Remember to map more than one route, in case bridges are out or roads are blocked.
  4. Keep your car’s gas tank full if you may need to evacuate. During emergencies, filling stations may be closed. Never store extra fuel in the garage – this could be dangerous.
  5. Always have extra cash on hand (at least $100 or so) because ATMs and credit card machines won’t work if the power’s out. Do this even if you aren’t planning to evacuate.
  6. Print out and fill in your contact lists then keep copies by your phone and at your office for easy access.
    • Ask an out-of-state friend to be your “family contact.” After a disaster, it’s often easier to call long distance.
  7. Meet with neighbors either informally or through a neighborhood group to create a neighborhood preparedness plan.
  8. Make sure adult family members know how to turn off the water, gas and electricity at the main valves or switches.
  9. Family members should also know CPR, how to help someone who is choking and first aid for severe bleeding and shock. Consider enrolling yourself and/or family members in first aid and emergency preparedness courses such as those offered by the Red Cross.

Gather Emergency Preparedness Items

WHN TIP – Disaster Kit Drill: Pick a night when everyone is home. Turn off the TV and lights, don’t use the faucets, fridge or the stove. Check and see what items are missing (special needs for family members, can opener, etc.). Make a list and add these items to your kit.

  1. Prepare a readily available and fully stocked Home Disaster Preparedness Kit. (Click for a printable list to print out.)
  2. Buy extra fire extinguishers and know where to store them. Teach each family member how to use them 
  3. Have a car emergency kit. Include water, first aid, and a way to signal the need for help, flashlight & batteries, warm blankets, a shovel, and a battery-operated radio.
  4. Add a NOAA Weather Radio to your home and car emergency kits.
    • If there is a severe warning in your area, a NOAA Weather Radio automatically turns on and alerts you with beeps and sirens. It even alerts you if the power is out (the radios have battery back-up).
    • Look for NOAA radios with “SAME” feature (Specific Area Message Encoding) which means the receiver is capable of turning itself on from a silent mode.

WHN TIP – In Case of Emergency (ICE): In the event of an emergency or after an accident, emergency personnel use your cell phone to look for “ICE”: who to contact In Case of an Emergency. Here’s how to do it.

Protect Your Home and Property

Along with the tips below, we’ve pulled together a quick list of general indoor and outdoor precautions you can take to improve your “shelter from the storm.”

WHN TIP – Flood Insurance: A flood insurance policy also reimburses you for actions you take to prevent flood damage. For example, costs for moving insured contents in imminent danger of flooding to a safe location are reimbursed up to $1,000 with no deductible. Other costs, such as for sandbags, plastic sheeting and lumber, pumps, fill for temporary levees, and wood to save the building can be reimbursed up to a limit of $1,000 with no deductible.

Before you begin your work, make sure you’ll do it right and contact your local building official. He or she can let you know what the codes are required and can provide you with assistance so that you can make improvements properly the first time.

Prepare a Home Inventory

  1. Create a household inventory – videotape, photograph or compile a written inventory of your home and belongings.
  2. Update your inventory every year or so and every time a major purchase is made or significant renovations are undertaken in your home or on your property.
  3. Prepare a Master Information Box which contains copies of important documents and records, photos and contact information.
  4. Keep the inventory off-premises in a safety deposit box or with an out-of-the-area contact. The inventory will provide a record for you and the insurance company.
  5. Update your inventory every year or so and every time a major purchase is made or significant renovations are undertaken in your home or on your property.

Thank You …

A special thank you to the first responders, emergency workers, government officials, lawyers, insurance agents and people who gave us their time, insight and real-life advice.