Preparing for Floods or Flooding

Preparation for a Flood

One of the most common disasters that can take place today is flooding. Flooding knows no real boundaries. It can take place at any time anywhere. There does not need to be a river nearby or even a lake or another item that can overflow the banks. Flash flood can take place in areas where you do not expect them and can devastate entire cities and towns.

Where Do Floods Happen?

While it is most common in areas where waterways are nearby such as coastal states like Florida, Texas, Georgia,California, New Jersey, and in areas where rivers are prevalent such as Pennsylvania, Ohio, Illinois and New York, there is no where that a flood cannot or has not affected. Every state in the United States has been affected by flash flooding or flooding at some point in its history.

According to US News and World Report, the top ten states for flooding are these:

  • Georgia
  • Massachusetts
  • North Carolina
  • South Carolina
  • Virginia
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • California
  • Louisiana
  • Florida

But every state has been flooded. Some of the most dangerous are those which are prone to flash flooding such as:

  • Arizona
  • New Mexico
  • California
  • Nevada

None of these statistic are hard and fast rules. If you look at the places most likely to flood you will not see Pennsylvania or Ohio or even Colorado on the list of most likely to flood or the top states for flooding yet the most devastating floods in recent history have taken place there. Floods happen everywhere.

Since 1900 more than ten thousand people have ben killed in flooding in the United States. A Colorado flood killed more than 100 people in Colorado in 1981.In South Dakota in 1972 more than 200 people died in flooding. In Shadyside Ohio in 1990 26 people lost their lives. Ohio is an area which is not prone to flooding but which can devastate entire towns when it does happen. Even the state of Nebraska, famous for just one major river and remarkably flat lands has been hit with floods of incredible magnitude that did millions of dollars in damages. Floods along the Missouri River in Nebraska that are classed as major or massive floods have taken place in 1943, 1952, 1967, 1978, and 1993.

These areas have flooded and while every attempt has been made by engineers and others, the floods in New Orleans are proof to everyone that floods can happen and that man does not have the capacity to hold back the tide of waters that mother nature can send in every instance.

Flooding can be one of the most devastating events in any area. It causes not just problems with drowning and damage to property during the event, but leaves complete devastation in its wake. Damaged homes, properties, flattened areas, decay and disease which breed in water are also a massive part of the problems that floods can cause.

Flood Preparation

Any time that you know that a large amount of rain or a tropical storm is imminent it behooves all of us to have what we need ready to go in the event that we need to evacuate. Evacuation from any area at any given time may be a necessity. Making sure that you have what you need to be ready to go, making sure that you have necessities packed in a bag at any given time and are ready to evacuate is the only sure method of staying safe when a flood is going to happen. In most cases the National Weather service and other weather services will issue flash flood or flood watches. This will let you know that there may be the chance that a flood can take place. Flash flood and flood warnings will tell you that flooding is already occurring and that you may need to be prepared to evacuate or to secure your property if possible.

In the event of a flood, having a bag packed with the following will allow you to evacuate and have what you need to make it through:

  • Identification and important papers
  • Vaccination records for pets
  • Medical papers as necessary for children
  • Battery powered weather radioHand crank or battery powered lanternYour pets
  • Cell phone and charger
  • Spare cash or credit cards

Prepare to evacuate to a shelter or to a friend or neighbors if necessary. When preparing for this and when it becomes necessary

  • Shut down all power and gas.
  • Turn off water to your house
  • Disconnect or unplug small appliances
  • Take all pets or animals as possible from the house.

Listen to flood watches and warnings. In the event that any evacuation is recommended, get out of the house immediately and prepare to not be allowed back into the house--depending on the severity of the flood--for days or even weeks.

During the Evacuation

  • Take your pack and essential items only.
  • Never drive into flood areas on the roadway. The road may have been washed away beneath and the area may be much deeper than you know. Flood waters can also wash away vehicles very quickly. As little as just six inches of water on the road may stall your car and leave you vulnerable to being swept down stream.
  • Follow any recommendations for evacuation routes
  • When you arrive at your destination let someone in your family know where you are
  • Use the telephone only as necessary since cell towers will be flooded with calls.
  • Even if you are not asked to evacuateListen to the weather radio regularly
  • Stay prepared for evacuation at any given time
  • Report your location to family and friends so that someone knows where you are.

After the Flood

  • Listen to news to be sure it is safe to return to your home area
  • Make sure that water is not contaminated prior to using any water from your home area
  • Beware of power lines that may be down or other safety issues.
  • Avoid washed out roadways or roadways that have standing water on them. They may well be weakened and could collapse under the weight of a car or truck
  • Be very very careful when entering your home. Power could be on, the structure could be weakened and there may be damage that you do not know about. Children should never enter the home when it is first reentered.
  • Before you spend even a night in the home everything in the home--if it is liveable must be completely disinfected. Bacteria and even standing sewage from the flooding may be inside your home. Do not spend a night there until it has been completely decontaminated.

Flooding can be a serious danger in many areas, but some people believe that once the flood is over, the danger is over too. That is not necessarily the case so do be careful when you enter your home for the first time.