As the 2015 El Niño winter approaches, it’s important to prepare your home and family for possible flooding. Here are the absolute essentials that every household should cover going into the winter season.
Essential Flood Safety Training for Every Home
- Know what the official notifications mean: your local news and radio stations will notify you if a flood is imminent or not, so it’s important to understand the lingo that the officials use.
- Flood Watch = conditions are ripe for flooding – PREP NOW
- Flood Warning = flooding is happening or will soon – ACT NOW
- Have an emergency kit: your flood preparedness kit should be easily accessible to all members of the family, including youngsters. Make sure to routinely remind all family members where to find the emergency flood kit so there is no hesitation when it comes time to use it. Your flood kit should include important electronics, such as a fully charged cell phone with emergency contacts, a phone charger, flashlight, and batteries. You should also include cash, first aid equipment (bandages, antiseptic, pain killers, etc.), a three day supply of nonperishable foods, and a gallon of bottled water per person per day.
- Have an evacuation plan: especially if you live in a flood-prone area, you should go over your emergency flood evacuation plan with your family members. Have a default evacuation plan, including a map with the route drawn out. Also have at least one back up route in case the original is not feasible. Print out and laminate the route, and post it somewhere easily visible. Include a second copy in your emergency flood kit. And don’t forget to include your pets in the evacuation plan!
- Opt into emergency notifications: consider purchasing an NOAA Weather Radio, which will alert you of severe or emergency weather conditions. You can also tune into your local radio or TV station to hear live updates for as long as they continue broadcasting.
- Understand the risks: be aware of whether you live on a floodplain and if a flood has previously occurred. This can help you understand the flood patterns and flood risks of your particular area so you can be extra prepared in terms of flood safety.
- Don’t wait – evacuate: a flash flood does just what its title says – it comes with a flash, giving little to no warning of its arrival. Proper flood safety measures require that you teach your family the importance of a speedy evacuation when a flood warning is in place. Don’t go back and try to grab unnecessary belongings – evacuate your family and pets as soon as possible.
- Don’t go through flooded waters: flood water as little as 6 inches deep can quickly knock a person down, even if it appears to be little to no water at all. Water that is 2 feet or less can wash a vehicle away, so it’s important that you do not attempt to drive through quick moving flood water in attempt to flee.
- Move to higher ground: your first priority when evacuating is to move to higher ground. Locate high ground in your area as well as dedicated emergency evacuation routes and mark them on your emergency flood map.
- Unplug all electrical appliances: if you have time and a flood watch has been issued, unplug all electrical appliances. This helps to prevent further complications, such as fires, in the event of a flood.
- Turn off gas and water mains: prior to evacuating, turn of your gas and water at the main source. This prevents dangerous gas and water leakage, which could result in an explosion when you return to your home.
Hopefully your home won’t experience any flooding, but we believe that even just a little bit of prevention and knowledge goes a long way. It could even save a life.