Prepare Your Home - Guide to Flooding

    Know your flood terms

    Flood terms should be reviewed prior to flood season. These terms are determined according to size and severity of the disaster. It is important to understand the difference between flood terms to know what to do. Action is generally required, so it is important to pay attention to the differences in the terms and know what each means. A flood watch means that flooding could happen and you should remain alert. You should turn on your weather station to the NOAA or listen to your general commercial radio for advice. You can also check the television for news and immediate information. Flash flood watch means that flooding can happen, like a general flood watch. The flash means that you should prepare yourself for the flood. Move to a higher elevation and once safe continue to stay informed. Continue to listen to the radio and watch television news or community channels to find out timely information.

    Flood warning means that the flood is happening or will happen soon. With a general flood warning, it is recommended that you evacuate the area. If you have yet to leave low ground by the time a general flood warning is issued, you should immediately. A flash flood means that the flood is currently taking place. You should immediately leave to higher ground on foot. Although it may seem complicated, there are only four flood terms. If you come to understand each term well, you should know exactly what to do in case of an emergency. Remember that a watch means the flood is coming and you should watch for it. A warning means it is currently taking place or will be soon, so evacuate or seek high land.

    • Before a Flood Threatens - Including flood terms, the state of Rhode Island offers emergency management information.
    • Flood Awareness - The Department of Public works offers information on how to properly prepare for a flood.
    • Flood Awareness Month - During flood awareness month, facts, information and volunteer opportunities are offered for flooding weather.
    • Ready Business - Emergency management is discussed by Macomb County, including flood facts and emergency contacts.
    • Flood Safety: The National Weather service offers commonly asked questions on flooding.
    • Natural Events and Disasters - The Environmental Protection Agency offers information on natural events and disasters, including floods.
    • Flood Safety - The city of Durham, North Carolina offers safety information during a flood.
    • Flood Preparedness – Offering advice on before, during and after a flood, La Porte Texas also includes why you need insurance.
    • Are You Ready for a Flood? - The state of Ohio offers information on flooding, including flood terms.
    • Emergency Information: Flooding terminology is explained here in more detail.

    What to do before a flood

    There are a few ways to prepare for a flood. For one, make sure your basement is waterproofed. Check to make sure the walls are sealed with compounds that are waterproof. This will make sure water cannot seep into the house. Also, check with your community officials to see if there are barrier plans such as floodwalls, beams or levees in effect. These can prevent the floodwater from damaging your home. Make sure to install “check valves” in your sewer traps. This will make sure the floodwater won’t backup all of the drains in your house. Be sure to also elevate hot water devices such as the furnace and hot water heater. If you have an electrical panel, check to make sure floodwaters cannot cause it damage. When planning your home, prepare for flooding appropriately. Don’t build your house within a flood prone area. If you choose a location that has flooding often, elevate and reinforce the foundation.

    • Flood Preparedness - Natrona County in Wyoming includes flood preparedness techniques within their Emergency Management Administration.
    • Preparing for a Flood - The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention detail flood readiness facts.
    • Are You Ready? – FEMA explains how to prepare for floods.
    • How to prepare for a flood - King County discusses what to do before, during and after a flood.
    • Are You Ready for Flooding? – The state of Wisconsin features statistics and flood preparation techniques.
    • Prepare for a Flood - The state of Washington offers links on preparation, including readiness kits and insurance programs.
    • Ready your Family - The state of Utah offers flood safety resources and explains what to do before, during and after.
    • Preparation and Recovery – Flood Smart explains what to do before a flood.
    • Before a Flood - Boulder, Colorado offers information on before, during, after floods, their benefits and general information links.
    • Preparation - This site includes information on how to prepare and handle a flood.

    What to do during a flood

    If your home or community is about to flood, be sure to stay informed. Watch news reports and listen to your radio. Flash flooding can happen quickly, so be prepared to move when necessary. Watch out for streams, canyons and drainage channels that flood quickly. If you have to evacuate make sure your home is secure. Everything in the back and side yard should be brought inside for shelter. Move essential items and furniture upstairs and turn utilities off. Make sure all electrical items are unplugged, when you are not in water. Remember to not walk through moving water, as even a little bit can cause you to fall or be dragged under. If you are unsure if the water is moving, use a stick. Also, do not drive within flooded areas. Cars that are in flooded waters should be abandoned and you should move to a higher elevation as soon as possible. A car and sports utility vehicle can be one of the most dangerous places as you can it can be swept away and moved quickly.

    • Before, During and After a Flood - Here, the state of Alaska offers tips on handling a flood the best way possible. 
    • Emergency Management – Offering information on flood insurance and emergency management, here is a great resource from Saint Paul, Minnesota.
    • Evacuating in a Flood – Here you will find the five P’s of immediate evacuation.
    • Flood Awareness - Public information programs on floods are offered here.
    • Floods - Ready America explains flooding before detailing emergency kits and how to prepare your family.
    • Water Emergencies - This site explains water emergencies and what to do before and after floods.
    • Got Sandbags? – Sandbags can be very helpful as a flood is approaching.
    • Flood Safety Day – The State of Georgia offers an awareness week, including one day on flood safety.
    • Flooding Statistics - Senator Dick Durbin offers flooding preparation information, including statistics on damage during flooding seasons.
    • Floods - Here, evacuation plans are explained in further detail.

    What to do after a flood

    Once a flood has passed, you should still stay informed. Continue to listen to the news and radio to determine when it is safe to return. Also the water supply within the community may be unsafe, so before you or your family drinks anything you should make sure it is clean. Stay away from the floodwaters as they are generally contaminated with anything from sewage to gas and oil from the ground. Be very careful when you enter your home, as there can be hidden damage to the walls or foundation. Electricity may also be charged within the water, so it is very important to remain safe and to avoid power lines. You should still stay away from moving water and areas that the flood hit hardest. Also, clean your home with a natural disinfectant and make any repairs necessary as soon as possible. Also, take plenty of pictures of the damage for your insurance policy and personal records.

    • Flood Safety - City of Lakes, Minneapolis offers flood preparation and how to recover from a flood.
    • Floods - California Department of Public Health includes preparation and recovery tips for flooding.
    • Flood Response and Recovery – You will find resources on responding and recovering from a flood from this resource.
    • Re-entering Your Home After a Flood - One of the most important topics mentioned, the Wisconsin Department of Health services includes viable information after a flood.
    • Floods - The state of Michigan includes flooding sources and resources for businesses, people returning to their homes and interesting facts.
    • Preparation, Recovery, and Repair – Public safety information on flood recovery is discussed here. 
    • Are you covered? - Make sure you are covered from here on out with flooding insurance information.
    • Check Flood Insurance – Illinois Department of Insurance explains flood insurance further.
    • Flood Preparedness - Videos on how to clean up following a flood are included here.
    • Storm water Management - Worcester, Massachusetts offers information on how your family can handle a flood. 
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