Because it’s the one disaster that is responsible for more deaths than lightning, tornadoes and hurricanes combined.
It’s also the only disaster that can affect you, regardless of where you live.
So why do we always hear flood victims talking about how the storm “snuck up on them”?
Why was it that only 20% of flood victims affected by Hurricane Harvey were insured for flooding?
Don’t leave it to chance, get prepared. We always assume it will happen to the other guy - before it happens to us, that is.
Preparing for floods should be on the top of your list of things to do. So today we are going to go through what you should be doing to prepare for a flood.
Drop a comment below when you’re done.
There are two main areas we want to focus on when it comes to flood preparation:
- Steps to take before the flood occurs
- What you need to be doing when the flood happens
Both are equally important, and we discuss this in even more detail in our book Your Emergency Game Plan.
Steps to take before
1) Always be ready to evacuate – as soon as possible.
Evacuation should be your number one goal when it comes to flood preparation. Unless you want to be trapped on top of your house, like this:
It was hours before emergency personnel could show up and get them down. Which, by the way, is a long enough time for dehydration to begin setting it.
Don’t let this happen to you. You want to be way out of town long before your house looks like this.
How do you know when to evacuate and what should you take with you?
Good questions, keep reading.
2) Have 72 hours of supplies prepped and ready to go
Ask any first responder and they will tell you how the first 72 hours after a severe storm or disaster is the most critical for survival.
In fact, FEMA recommends that you have enough supplies on hand to last 72 hours without access to outside food, water or emergency personnel.
We wrote a whole guide about how to prep an emergency kit for this and I recommend you read it.
If you don’t have time to prepare one yourself, you can get one from our store as well.
3) Have a NOAA Weather Radio - AND USE IT
NOAA stands for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration which is a government agency responsible for monitoring for severe storms.
The NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards (NWR) is a nation-wide network of radio stations that all broadcast weather information continuously. This is by far the most comprehensive source for weather information out there.
There are radios available that get all of the different service stations and we sell some highly recommended brands in our store (Midland makes a very high quality and inexpensive one).
One of these is as essential to get as a 72 hour kit, because it’s going to be your first warning.
But only if you use it. Make sure it’s in a common area of the house and you tune in to it regularly.
4) Create an evacuation plan ahead of time
There are going to be a lot of people out there who are scrambling to find high ground during a flood - but you will not be one of them.
Evacuation plans are essential for all types of emergencies, not just floods. Why?
Because in a crisis, everything that can go wrong absolutely will go wrong, that’s one thing you can count on. And if you don’t have a step by step plan written down as to what you’re going to do, where you’re going to go and who is responsible for what, you are going to make mistakes.
And mistakes made at a critical moment could be life or death for you or your loved ones.
You need a plan that details exactly where you are going to go, what you are driving and how you are going to get there. Having backup routes will be handy too.
Write it down, put it in your Emergency Kit and check it regularly.
5) Keep your fuel tank near full, always
Cars don’t run on hopes and dreams (unfortunately) and if you are trying to get out of town, you want to make sure you have enough gas to get you there.
This is good advice for every type of emergency, not just flooding.
For instance - a tornado. That is definitely an emergency you might have to speed away from.
Floods can cover dozens of square miles. You might have to drive long distances to get to high ground.
6) Get Insured
Like I mentioned above - the vast majority of Americans don’t have flood insurance.
And trust me when I say that paying for flood damage to a house could literally drive you to bankruptcy.
In a situation like this, the last thing you want to deal with is the insane costs of repairing your home after you’ve lost virtually everything.
Being financially prepared is just as important as being physically prepared.
Okay, so you did everything you were supposed to do before a flood to get prepared. What now?
Well, now you put that into action.
Most of what you can do to survive a flood will come from what you do beforehand, but these 3 key takeaways are what you should be focusing on when you find yourself in a flood.
1) Don’t drive on flooded roadways
You risk your engine flooding if you do. And if that happens, I bet you’ll be thinking that roof looks mighty comfortable.
The last thing you want to happen is to get far away from a flooded area just to be stuck in the middle of a road with water up to your eyeballs in your own car.
You’ll risk being drifted away with the current, taking you God knows where.
This is where that evacuation plan you prepped above will come in handy. You should have researched the best roads ahead of time, and by that I mean the ones that are least likely to flood.
Staying as far away from rivers as possible is a good first step. But your plan will be specific to you, so do yourself a favor and do this research ahead of time.
2) Have that NOAA Radio turned on
Any good NOAA radio worth its salt will be portable and durable, and packing this in your kit as you go will do wonders to help you stay connected to the world.
With flooding anything can happen. You could lose your phone, lose service, you name it.
But these radios and radio stations are designed to handle these kinds of stressors and will continue their constant reporting of the weather, no matter what.
Your radio is going to keep you informed about what’s going on. You’ll know whether the worst has happened or if it is on its way. Communication is a big deal in a time like this.
3) Follow your evacuation plan to high ground
Evacuate as soon as possible. I can’t say it enough.
And the plan you made earlier should be leading you directly to high ground, where you will be far safer than some place below sea level.
Water follows gravity, and it should almost go without saying that you want to pick a high area where water will be flowing away from you.
You can use a service like floodmaps.net to track down places in your area that are elevated high enough to keep you and your family safe. Mark these locations down on your evacuation plan.
Then you need to get there as soon as possible.
Bottom line - no matter where you are located in the country, you should know how to prepare for a flood.
Flooding from Hurricane Katrina caused over $80 billion in damage, and estimates from Harvey are even worse than that. Let’s not even talk about the human cost of these catastrophes.
Use the steps above and get prepared. A great place to start is our free ebook that takes you from novice to preparedness pro in 3 simple steps.
Go get it here.