Are You Prepared for a Flash Flood? Your Safety Checklist
Brian White | October 13, 2015 | safety
Floods occur frequently and can come without warning. They are often hazardous, and therefore can be very costly for homeowners. The dangers associated with floods include contamination of water supply and sewage backup in your home. Follow this safety checklist to ensure you and your family stay safe in the event of a flash flood.
- When the weather turns rainy, tune into your local weather forecast. Forecasters will warn you about the following scenarios:
- Flash Flood Watch: Conditions are right for flash flooding in your area.
- Flash Flood Warning: Flooding is imminent or already happening near you.
If you receive a flash flood watch or warning, you need to prepare for the possibility that you and your family have to evacuate. As a proactive safety measure, you should always have these items on hand, particularly if you live in a low-lying area:
- A 3 day supply of water, which roughly equals to one gallon per family member per day
- Three days’ worth of non-perishable food (such as canned items)
- Weather radio or battery-powered radio
- At least a 7 day supply of any medications
- First aid items like band aids, antiseptic, and gauze
- Warm clothing
- Waterproof boots and jackets
- Emergency cash
- Contact cards in the event your cell phone battery dies
- Personal records for yourself and family members, like Social Security Cards, Birth Certificates, etc.
- Any additional supplies for babies and pets, like diapers, formulas, leashes, etc.
Furthermore, make sure you have flood insurance, as most homeowner’s policies do not cover flood damage. Discuss this specifically with your provider, and make sure you are covered for seepage, sewer backup, and hydrostatic pressure. Check out the National Flood Insurance Program for more information.
In the event a flash flood warning is issued in your area, be prepared to evacuate at a moment’s notice. Ready your bags with the items listed above, and head to higher ground. Once there, follow some basic precautions:
- Stay away from floodwater. According to the Red Cross, even six inches of water can sweep you off your feet.
- Keep everyone, especially children, away from any water. It may be contaminated with sewage and extremely unsafe.
- If you are forced to evacuate, never try to pass through a water-covered road. Drivers often misjudge water depth and become stranded.
Once you get the OK to return to your home, there are still some potential dangers you need to be aware of. When going back to your property, observe some simple safety rules:
- Check for any downed power lines or gas leaks. If you smell natural gas or spot cracks in the foundation, do not enter your home.
- Check that the support beams of your house seem sturdy.
- Flood waters may have invited wild animals to your home seeking safety, so be wary of any critters that can carry disease, like raccoons, skunks, or even snakes.
- Dispose of any food that has come in contact with flood water – even items that are sealed (like canned goods).
- Clean up and dispose of items while wearing protective gear like rubber gloves and boots.
- Follow county health guidelines about water preparation. In the event a water main broke in your area, you may need to boil your water before using it.
If you became injured or ill during a flash flood and believe you may be entitled to compensation due to negligence on the part of the health department or other entities, contact the personal injury law firm of Brian White. We offer free consultations, and you do not have to pay any fees unless you win.