Ark Building 101: 8 Life-Saving Ways to Prepare for Severe Flooding
Natural disasters answer to no one. The forces of nature are in a very small class of things on this planet we can’t control.
In America, floods are the most common of all natural disasters, accounting for an average of 85 deaths a year.
Even non-severe flooding causes long-term, expensive damage in peoples’ homes. Water damage can cost a homeowner thousands of dollars. Once all is said and done, they still need to be concerned about potential mold as well.
Additionally, ranchers and farmers can lose hundreds of thousands of dollars in destroyed crops and livestock.
The key to making it through severe flooding without losing your life or becoming bankrupt is preparing for it.
Keep reading for our top 8 life-saving tips to prepare for severe flooding.
Mistakes to Avoid During Severe Flooding
Many of the lives lost and injuries sustained during severe flooding are due to poor judgment. There’s no disrespect meant towards the casualties of flooding, as some can’t be avoided.
However, there are things you need to avoid during severe flooding to keep you and your family safe.
First, never attempt to walk or swim through flooded areas. The currents and undercurrents of floods are fast, powerful, and deadly. Also, you never know what kind of debris will be in the water. You could easily be cut, knocked unconscious, or killed.
Secondly, don’t try to drive through flood waters either. A mere 12 inches of moving water can take control of your car and sweep it away.
Finally, stay off all bridges. They can be torn apart and washed away without warning.
1. Know Your Area
The most important key to survival in any situation is awareness.
Know your area intimately. This includes your home, work, and children’s school locations.
Are you in a flood zone? Is your location at risk of flash flooding?
These are important questions to ask to help you be prepared in the event of severe flooding.
FEMA flood maps will tell you all you need to know about your area, all you have to do is type in your address.
2. Pay Attention
Once again, awareness is key.
Pay attention to local broadcasting systems. Keep an eye on the weather, especially during rainy seasons or during periods of mass snow melting. Surprisingly, snowmelt has been causing severe flooding in many places this year.
While the 10-day forecast won’t be 100% accurate, it’s still a good reference to have to predict heavy snow or rainfall.
3. Subscribe to Local Alert Systems
With smartphones, we are always connected. While this may be a point of annoyance for some, in the case of alert systems, smartphones can save lives.
Reach out to your child’s school and get connected with their emergency alert programs.
There are options such as the Emergency Alert System and weather radios you can subscribe to that will keep you updated as well.
Finally, stay tuned into local media such as the radio and local channels. Even social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter are good sources if you have friends from local areas on there.
4. Get Flood Insurance
For long-term protection, flood insurance is a must, especially in a high-risk flood zone. However, note that roughly 20% of flooding happens in areas considered low-risk.
Don’t assume that your homeowner’s insurance will cover flooding, most often they don’t. Some insurance providers have an optional flood coverage package with additional cost. However, you’ll likely need a flood-specific insurance company.
For example, Better Flood Insurance provides nation-wide coverage. Find out more to see what coverage you can apply for.
5. Have Sandbags Ready
While sandbags will not keep all water out of your house, they are a fantastic divergent of incoming flood water and debris. However, it’s important to note that sandbags will be somewhat useless for any more than three feet of water.
If you have space in a garage or shed to keep sandbags filled and ready, it will save you valuable time in the event of a severe flood. Otherwise, having the bags ready to fill and a plan of who will fill and place them will be essential to getting them ready in time.
6. Prepare Emergency Supplies
In the event of severe flooding, emergency supplies will be vital to your survival.
Canned food, bottled water, hand-held radios or walkie talkies, extra batteries, flashlights, pillows, and sleeping bags are all good to have on hand.
In a scenario in which you stay in your home, survival supplies will be necessary to wait out the flood or for rescue. All your supplies should be at the highest level of your home. You don’t want to be moving them at the last minute.
Secondly, if you know you live in a flood area, all your valuables and sentimental items should be kept on the top floor as well. Otherwise, you may be tempted to try to save them while you should be focusing on other things.
7. Have an Emergency Plan
You and your family need to have an emergency plan in place in the event of severe flooding. Everyone needs to be on the same page. In fact, everyone needs to be on the same sentence on the same page.
If you have a secondary location and enough time to get there, make sure you have emergency supplies either in the vehicle already or packed and ready to load at a moment’s notice.
In any scenario, your family needs to know what to do in case communication goes down. The last thing you want to do is scramble around trying to find one another.
Finally, make sure you have some money set aside as a “rainy day” or emergency fund. Cash is always best as you don’t know if all places will take cards or checks.
8. Don’t Hesitate to Leave if Necessary
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, never hesitate to do what is necessary.
We all have items of incredible value, both financially and sentimentally. However, in the event of severe flooding or any natural disaster, you and your family’s safety is priority number one.
While sentimental items may not be replaceable, all other items are. Don’t risk your life or the lives of your family members for material things.
It’s possible you may lose everything, but it’s also possible to get back on your feet after a disaster.
If leaving is necessary, do it sooner rather than later.
Whether you and your family evacuated your house or not, it’s incredibly important to exercise caution when cleaning up after severe flooding.
Wear protective clothing, such as thick-soled boots or shoes, and protective gloves. Debris from severe flooding can be spread for miles. Additionally, animals such as snakes or vermin may have taken up residence in your home during or after the flood.
Finally, although it can be super demoralizing, life goes on. If you need to abandon your house and start over financially, you will be okay. Friends and family and even strangers are always willing to lend a helping hand.
For more advice on moving forward and rebuilding your wealth, check out our money saving articles.