The 1st step to flood preparation is finding out if you live in a flood zone or an area that is susceptible to floods. You can easily check on the internet or with your insurance agent. FEMA has maps and resources to assist you. Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRM) will help you locate information on flood hazard maps. Imap provides online maps that shows data of floodplain boundaries.
Some emergency procedures should be in place in case of a flood and your family should practice safety drills in case of a flood. You should make sure that every family member knows the emergency phone numbers to call and when to call them. A route from your home or business to higher ground should be established. In case family members get separated, you should agree on a meeting place and who to contact during this time. Everyone should be made aware of how to shut off gas, electricity and water lines in case of an emergency. Speaking with neighbors about past experiences regarding floods in the area can help you prepare for the next one.
To avoid flood damages, you might want to use sand and/or sandbags. Some cities or counties will supply them. Keep your valuables stored in higher places such as the second floor of the home. Household chemicals should also be stored above flood levels. Any underground storage tanks should be fully secure and sealed. Close any storm shutters and sandbag doorways. To avoid flood waters from backing up into sewer drains, check valve installed on the sewer traps. All vehicles should be moved to higher ground.
Keep emergency supplies handy and stocked in a dry place. Some of these items would include: a battery operated radio, fresh batteries, flashlights, non-perishable food and bottled water. Medicine and a first-aid kit should also be included. A weather radio is suggested which can be very useful not only during a flood but in other inclement weather. Follow all emergency instructions given by your local radio stations. Properly dispose of any hazardous waste before flood season. Keep street drains, storm grates and flap gates clear of debris and leaves. If you are a homeowner, consider purchasing flood insurance to protect any loss incurred from flooding. It is always best to safe than sorry. It is another expense but it could save you more in the case of disaster.
Be always ready to evacuate and do so immediately. It is much safer to leave the area before the flood when it is easier to maneuver your vehicles than driving in dangerously deep flood waters. If you do have to drive by car to evacuate, remember to avoid areas where water is over the road or past blocked road signs. If your car stops in a flooded area, leave it and walk to a safe area in the direction from which you came. Shortcuts may be blocked so follow the recommend evacuation routes. Stay safe and follow procedures and protocols at all times.