Close your eyes and take a second to imagine what it’d be like to have sheets of rain pounding against your windows for days on end.
If you live by water, picture the shoreline rising up and flooding into nearby streets and driveways.
For those who imagined what a storm would look and feel like within your home and neighborhood, you’ve just completed the most important step in disaster preparedness: acknowledging a dangerous weather event before it happens. The worst thing you can do is assume it won’t happen to you.
Team Rubicon has been helping people in the immediate aftermath of disaster since 2010, and we’ve seen firsthand what can happen to those who are not prepared, as well as to those who are prepared. This National Preparedness Month, we’re sharing some easy ways to help you become prepared for disaster.
We will start by getting you prepared for floods.
We also have tips for wildfires, earthquake, and strong-wind storm preparation, but to learn about how you and your neighbors can become prepared for flooding and rising waters —bookmark this article, share with friends and neighbors, and read on:
Disaster preparedness checklist for flooding:
Assess your personal level of risk.Where you live and what factors may become hazardous for you and your home are important to note. Be familiar with what’s around you and consider purchasing coverages like flood insurance if you are able to afford it—peace of mind goes beyond property.
Know your neighbors.In a disaster it’s the people closest, likely in the same situation, who can help you even before first responders are able to arrive on scene. If possible, create a plan with your neighbors and discuss evacuation routes and community shelter locations so you can work together when needed.
Be prepared to leave quickly.Local roads could be underwater or inaccessible due to debris after a storm, so don’t wait too long to evacuate and risk not having a way out. If there’s an evacuation warning or order from local officials, be safe and take it seriously. Evac orders are given out for good reason.
Find the highest ground in your neighborhood and share its location with your neighbors.Having a clearly understood place where everyone will know where to go is essential in times of emergency. If you live in a city, locate multi-story and concrete structures (like parking garages) where you’ll huddle up during a flood if you’re unable to evacuate.
Remind neighbors and family NOT to attempt to swim through flood waters.Do not even think about swimming through floodwaters if you don’t have to. You might be a strong swimmer, but you can’t outswim debris like glass and rusty nails already churning in the water.
Install check-valves or one-way valves in your home sewage pipes.To prevent floodwater from backing up into your drains and then into your home, these installable valves can save your house from a good amount of avoidable damage.
Note the trees around your home.Trim or remove trees on your property that are at risk of falling on your roof when a powerful storm rolls through.
Elevate your home’s essential indoor appliances such as furnaces, water heaters, and electrical panels.These are steps that will take time and resources but should be considered well before storm season hits. We realize lifting a home’s essential indoor appliances can perhaps be a massive construction project, but if you live or plan to live near the coast, consider looking for a home’s appliances already elevated above ground level.
Learn the basics of applying first-aid and assemble a first-aid kit.You can take it a step further by signing up for a Red Cross Hands-Only CPR course.
Include your pets in the emergency plan by making sure they have collars and identifying tags with your contact information.Phone numbers and addresses or listing temporary shelter address are recommended moves. It’s also good planning to have a pet carrier ready for smaller pets in case you need to evacuate.
Flooding can be dangerous and devastating for communities caught off-guard, but we encourage you to follow these steps as your starting point before the storm starts and floodwaters begin to rise.
Learn about how to prepare for fires, severe wind events (tornadoes, tropical storms, hurricanes), earthquakes and other disasters here.
Bookmark this page and help us spread the habit of preparedness by sharing these tips across your social channels.