According to the CDC, each year, more deaths occur due to flooding than any other hazard related to thunderstorms. The most common flood deaths occur when a vehicle is driven into hazardous floodwater. Fortunately, you can take steps to protect yourself, your family, and your home.
Steps to take before a flood occurs:
If you don’t already know, your first step to being prepared for flooding is to determine if your home is in a flood plain. You can use the FEMA Flood map to look up your location. You can also check with your city’s Emergency Preparedness department for their flood maps, but be aware that those projections may not be accurate during an actual flood.
If you live in a flood plain then you need to be aware of potential flooding hazards such as heavy rain, especially when combined with a dam or levee breach. If you have lived at your current location for very long you are probably already aware of where water tends to pool after heavy rain so make note of evacuation routes that are less likely to be underwater.
Knowing you live in a flood plain, take steps to ensure that things like your water heater and furnace are installed off the ground to mitigate the damage that minor flooding can cause. Also, be sure and seal walls in basements with waterproofing compounds to avoid seepage. So that you don’t end up with a localized flood in your basement from heavy rain.
You also need to familiarize yourself with the difference between a Flood Watch, meaning flooding is possible, and a Flood Warning, which means flooding is occurring or will occur soon. This will help you take the necessary steps to adequately protect your loved ones and your home.
Make sure your family’s 72-hr bags are packed and ready to go at a moment’s notice, and don’t forget to include one for your pets. Include a copy of immunization records for your entire family, including pets.
Keep all important papers such as legal papers, birth certificates, marriage license, financial papers, and insurance policy information in a safety deposit box, or fireproof and waterproof box on an upper floor inside the home.
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