Floods are one of the most powerful and devastating natural disasters that can occur. While some areas are more prone to floods than others, the fact is that almost anywhere there can be rain, there can also be a flood. Serious floods can range from large and foreboding to smaller flash floods. No matter what type you find your area prone to, it’s important to take safety precautions both before and during flood alerts. In fact, being knowledgeable about flooding could save your life, or the life of someone you love.
A flood usually occurs when either heavy or frequent rain falls for hours or days at a time. When this happens, the ground usually becomes saturated. When the ground is no longer able to hold water, the water will rise. Just like with any severe weather, you will likely hear your local meteorologist use terms that describe what is occurring. When it comes to flooding, a flood or a flash flood watch means that flooding or flash flooding is a possibility near your location. A flood or flash flood warning, on the other hand, means that one of those two things is already happening or will be happening very soon. Either way, when you hear one of these warnings, it’s imperative that you begin to exercise some precautions.
If you live in an area that is prone to flooding or flash flooding, you’ll want to be prepared for an evacuation. It’s always easier to prepare yourself or your family in advance as opposed to in an emergency situation. While you can find lists of evacuation supplies online, a few supplies that are most useful include:
- Drinking water
- Nonperishable food
- First aid kit
- Flashlight with extra batteries
- Required medications
- Copies of personal documents (insurance policies, passport, birth certificates, social security card)
- Weather radio
- Emergency cash
- Photos of your home prior to flooding
The list of supplies that you choose to pull together will vary depending on the number of individuals who will require evacuation. For instance, if you have a pet, be sure to pack pet supplies like food, a leash, and a bowl. If you have a baby, pack formula and blankets. Have your supplies packed and ready to go in an easily accessible area. When it comes to flooding, the quicker you can evacuate, the better off you will be.
There are additional steps to take in keeping yourself and your family safe during flood alerts. While some of them may seem ridiculous, following through may prove to be lifesaving. For instance, when a flood or flash flood warning has been issued for your county, get to higher ground as soon as possible. It can be tempting to stay behind. After all, leaving your home can be incredibly difficult emotionally or physically. Nonetheless, it’s important to do so quickly.
Secondly, if you find that water is above your ankles, turn around and try to find higher ground using a different route. Mere inches of water may not seem like much, but if moving swiftly it can sweep you off your feet.
If you come across a flooded road in your vehicle, do not continue. Most people don’t realize that roads beneath swiftly moving water can be washed away. Most vehicles can be swept away in less than two feet of moving water. Never let your children play in flood waters. This is especially true after the rain has subsided. Water can still move quickly or worse, it may be contaminated.
Don’t be caught off guard by a flood. Instead, know how to protect yourself and your family and always exercise extra safety during flood alerts.