Floods Are the Most Common Natural Disaster
Of all the natural disasters that can beset you, the one that you’re most likely to face is flooding, which makes up 75 percent of natural disaster cases, according to a 2007 report by the U.S. Geological Survey. The flooding effects can be local, or they can be the result of massive rainfalls that are brought on by category 4 or category five hurricanes. Floods can also develop very quickly, so-called flash floods, or develop slowly over a period of days. Floods can be caused by:
- Heavy Rain
- Spring Snowmelt
- Dam and Levee Failures
- Low water absorption from the soil (Depleted Wetlands for example)
- Business and Residential Growth in Flood Areas
Areas, where flooding occur most often, are along the Mississippi River and the Central Valley of California. However, most areas in the United States are subject to some degree of flooding, according to the FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) website.
What is the number one rule to know where flooding is concerned?
The number one rule to know if you happen to find yourself in a flooding area is that you need to move quickly to higher ground. The flood waters can carry debris, scour soil and asphalt and spark landslides. Even flash floods with the depth of 24 inches can produce enough force to carry away a car or truck. Even six inches of flood water can knock down a person. You should never try to swim, walk or drive through flood waters, according to FEMA.
How Should I Prepare For a Potential Flood?
There are a number of precautions you can take to prepare for a flood, according to FEMA:
- You should know the flood risk in your area, especially its history of flooding.
- You and your family should have a flood evacuation plan at the ready. Not only that but you should practice the route. Your entire family should know where to go if they have to evacuate.
- Obtain flood insurance. It should be pointed out, however, that if you live in a high-risk it’s mandated that you buy flood insurance. You should also keep in mind that homeowner’s policies do not cover flooding.
- Keep your important documents in a waterproof safe box.
- Check emergency messages using a portable radio
How Can I Protect My Property From Flood Damage?
Here are some steps that you can take to protect your personal belongings and your home in case of flooding:
- Elevate the furnace, water heater and electric panel to at least one foot above the lowest level of the floodplain. In some cases/areas, this might mean moving these items to a higher floor or even your highest floor: The attic.
- Move furniture and other items to a higher level. Move your valuables away from where the flooding damage is most likely.
- Install check valves in plumbing to prevent flood water from backing up into the drains of the home.
- Waterproof the basement floors and walls to prevent seepage through cracks.
- Clear debris from gutters and downspouts
- Leave none of your outdoor belongings outside if you know that a flood is coming. You’re not only saving your precious content, but you’re creating less debris in the bloodstream.
How to Evacuate from a Flood
Here are some tips from FEMA just in case you have to evacuate from oncoming floodwaters:
- Never attempt to walk, swim or drive through flood waters.
- Stay off bridges over fast moving waters.
- Keep away from waterways.
- Pay attention to barricades.
- Avoid storm drains and irrigation ditches.
- Keep your family together.
If you need more information about tactics and precautions, then check out the FEMA website.