What to Do Before, During, and After a Flood

When floods happen, people can be unsure of what to do. They want to save themselves, their families, and their pets, while also protecting their property if possible. Flooding is dangerous and knowing what to do before, during, and after a flood can make all the difference.

Before the Flood

  • Know your risk. If you live in a high-risk flood area, then you understand how likely and how often flooding happens. Lower risk areas should still be prepared but may not need to do as much to protect against flooding.
  • Have an emergency plan ready. Know how you will contact family members. If people are away from home, how will they meet up with the family later? Do you have a safer place to be when a flood occurs? Higher ground is always a good idea.
  • Know local emergency plans. Localities will have designated places for people to go during disasters, so it’s important to know where those shelters are located. You should also know who to call for help.
  • Have an emergency preparedness kit stocked and ready. It should be something that you can take with you and include non-perishable food, bottled water, and first aid supplies.
  • Have flood insurance beforehand. You should also make sure to understand what your insurance plan covers and what it doesn’t cover.
  • Prepare your home. If there is a flood warning, bring in all of your lawn furniture and turn off gas and electric. Unplug electronics and appliances to prevent fires.

During the Flood

  • Get to high ground. Flood waters have been known to reach the roofs of houses. Still, being on a roof is much better than being stuck on the first floor.
  • Evacuate! Rescue crews will direct people on what to do and where to go. Follow directions.
  • Don’t try to walk in the water. Not only is flood water contaminated with biohazards and sharp objects, the currents of the water can knock a person over in no time. Rushing water is dangerous. Live wires can also be down in the water, making it very dangerous.

After the Flood

  • Only go home when authorities say it is safe to do so. The water may seem to have receded in your current location, only to have hit another area. Do not venture home unless it has been deemed safe.
  • Take photos of property damage for insurance. Once you get home, make sure to photograph the entire house to document the water damage. These photos will help when you make an insurance claim.
  • Avoid high water areas and standing water. Don’t drive through water. It is very easy for the vehicle to become overwhelmed and trapped. Standing water poses an electrocution risk from downed power lines.

It is always important to listen to the authorities in these situations to keep you and your family safe.