Flood Safety

According to FEMA, “Floods are America’s number one natural disaster and can happen anytime, anywhere.” Floods are consistently the most common, costly and deadly natural disaster Americans face each year. In fact 90% of all natural disasters in the U.S. involve flooding.

 

Before A Flood

 

Educate Yourself

After getting flood insurance, there are several things you can do to minimize losses in your home and ensure your family’s safety.

1. Safeguard your possessions.
Create a personal flood file containing information about all your possessions and keep it in a secure place, such as a safe deposit box or waterproof container. This file should have:

  • A copy of your insurance policies with your agent’s contact information.
  • A household inventory: For insurance purposes, be sure to keep a written and visual (i.e., videotaped or photographed) record of all major household items and valuables, even those stored in basements, attics or garages. Create files that include serial numbers and store receipts for major appliances and electronics. Have jewelry and artwork appraised. These documents are critically important when filing insurance claims. For more information visitwww.knowyourstuff.org.
  • Copies of all other critical documents, including finance records or receipts of major purchases.

2. Prepare your house.

  • First make sure your sump pump is working and then install a battery-operated backup, in case of a power failure. Installing a water alarm will also let you know if water is accumulating in your basement.
  • Clear debris from gutters and downspouts.
  • Anchor any fuel tanks.
  • Raise your electrical components (switches, sockets, circuit breakers, and wiring) at least 12 inches above your home’s projected flood elevation.
  • Place the furnace, water heater, washer, and dryer on cement blocks at least 12 inches above the projected flood elevation.
  • Move furniture, valuables, and important documents to a safe place.

3. Develop a family emergency plan.

  • Create a safety kit with drinking water, canned food, first aid, blankets, a radio, and a flashlight.
  • Post emergency telephone numbers by the phone and teach your children how to dial 911.
  • Plan and practice a flood evacuation route with your family. Know safe routes from home, work, and school that are on higher ground.
  • Ask an out-of-state relative or friend to be your emergency family contact.
  • Have a plan to protect your pets.

For more information on emergency preparation, talk to your insurance agent or visitReady.gov.

 

During A Flood

Here’s what you can do to stay safe during a flood:

  • If flooding occurs, go to higher ground and avoid areas subject to flooding.
  • Do not attempt to walk across flowing streams or drive through flooded roadways.
  • If water rises in your home before you evacuate, go to the top floor, attic, or roof.
  • Listen to a battery-operated radio for the latest storm information.
  • Turn off all utilities at the main power switch and close the main gas valve if advised to do so.
  • If you’ve come in contact with floodwaters, wash your hands with soap and disinfected water.

After A Flood

  • If your home has suffered damage, call your insurance agent to file a claim.
  • Check for structural damage before re-entering your home to avoid being trapped in a building collapse.
  • Take photos of any floodwater in your home and save any damaged personal property.
  • Make a list of damaged or lost items and include their purchase date and value with receipts, and place with the inventory you took prior to the flood. Some damaged items may require disposal, so keep photographs of these items.
  • Keep power off until an electrician has inspected your system for safety.
  • Boil water for drinking and food preparation until authorities tell you that your water supply is safe.
  • Prevent mold by removing wet contents immediately.
  • Wear gloves and boots to clean and disinfect. Wet items should be cleaned with a pine-oil cleanser and bleach, completely dried, and monitored for several days for any fungal growth and odors.

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Hurricane Preparedness Week

 Are you prepared for a hurricane? What would you do? These are questions that you should have answers to because hurricane season is fastly approaching. This week is Hurricane Preparedness Week and we will give you safety tips on what to do in case of an emergency!
Two keys to weather safety are to prepare for the risks and to act on those preparations when alerted by emergency officials. These are essential pieces to the Weather-Ready Nation.

Refer to the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) ready.gov/hurricanes for comprehensive information on hurricane preparedness at home and in your community.

Gather Information-

Know if you live in an evacuation area. Assess your risks and know your home’s vulnerability to storm surge, flooding and wind. Understand National Weather Service forecast products and especially the meaning of NWS watches and warnings.
Contact your local National Weather Service office and local government/emergency management office. Find out what type of emergencies could occur and how you should respond.

Contacts

Keep a list of contact information for reference: Local Emergency Management Office

  • County Law Enforcement
  • County Public Safety Fire/Rescue
  • State, County and City/Town Government
  • Local Hospitals
  • Local Utilities
  • Local American Red Cross
  • Local TV Stations
  • Local Radio Stations
  • Your Property Insurance Agent

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Plan & Take Action

Everyone needs to be prepared for the unexpected. Your friends and family may not be together when disaster strikes. How will you find each other? Will you know if your children or parents are safe? You may have to evacuate or be confined to your home. What will you do if water, gas, electricity or phone services are shut off?

Supplies Kit

Put together a basic disaster supplies kit and consider storage locations for different situations. Help community members do the same.

Emergency Plans

Develop and document plans for your specific risks.

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Evacuation

Image of Interstate Traffic in an Evacuation

  • Review the FEMA Evacuation Guidelinesto allow for enough time to pack and inform friends and family if you need to leave your home. FOLLOW instructions issued by local officials. Leave immediately if ordered!
  • Consider your protection options to decide whether to stay or evacuate your home if you are not ordered to evacuate. <!–
  • Determine multiple safe evacuation routes inland.
  • Keep copies of important papers such as identification and insurance policies with you.
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When waiting out a storm be careful, the danger may not be over yet…

Be alert for:

  • Tornadoes – they are often spawned by hurricanes.
  • The calm “eye” of the storm – it may seem like the storm is over, but after the eye passes, the winds will change direction and quickly return to hurricane force.

Recover

  • Wait until an area is declared safe before returning home.
  • Remember that recovering from a disaster is usually a gradual process.

Resources

Content Credit: http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/prepare/ready.php
-Denea Duran