Most people who live on Earth have gone through some kind of flood at a particular time in their lives. Regardless of the fact that it was a small stream that came out of its channel or a flood of hurricanes, we all know what it is like to see water everywhere. Since this is a well-known phenomenon, you might think that people know how to prepare for a flood. Still, with each flood, there are new problems and people are unprepared.
Flood preparedness should be a mandatory training in schools, especially in areas that are frequently flooded. In this way, when starting at an early age, people will finally understand that knowledge about this subject is extremely important. We all know that floods occur because there is too much water in a short period of time and the soil can no longer absorb it. This usually happens when there are heavy and constant rains, hurricanes, tsunamis, typhoons, cyclones, etc.
Even so, common floods, which occur more frequently, occur as a result of heavy rains. There is nothing spectacular in them, there is no force of nature unleashed on your head, only a rain that does not want to stop. This rain will supersaturate the rivers, lakes, ponds and streams in the area, allowing them to leave their channels and flood everything around them.
During an intense rain that does not stop, it is very important to follow the weather forecasts. If you hear terms like “flash flood,” “flood warning,” or “flood warning,” it’s time to put the flood preparedness plan into practice (which you must have prepared in advance). The difference between the terms “see” and “warning” is also very important. If there is a clock, you must be alert and ready for action. If you are here, the term “warning” is already coming flood or will come in a very short time. This is the time to act.
Simple steps to complete the flood preparation
Everyone should know some basic rules when it comes to preparing for floods. In general, floods are not so difficult to detect and there is a time before the waters begin to flow in your living room. There is also the question of location when it comes to floods.
For example, if you live near a body of water, you should know that your building or house is the first to be hit by the flood. If you see that the water level increases the evacuation time and ask questions later. If your house is built on a high ground, you may not be harmed, but first be sure to check with the authorities. Sometimes the water level can become quite high.
The fury of water is not something to play with, as it will take everything you can get. The waters take houses or parts of houses, uproot trees and demolish telephone towers. Sometimes they are so powerful that they break bridges and isolate entire cities.
Precautions to take in the event of a disaster.
If you know there are frequent floods in your area, your preparation for flooding should be maximum. Here are some precautions you should take:
- The first and most important precaution you can take is not to build your house in an area that is easily flooded. This is a very important aspect to consider when choosing a land for your future home. Nobody wants to have a lake in their living room every year.
- If you do not have an option and you must build your home on a floodplain, make sure the base is solid and high enough. Check with local water authorities and find out what the average level of water is during a flood. In this way you will know to what extent to make the foundations. Also, avoid building a basement: the water will flood it all the time.
- Build special constructions to stop the water. Make small walls (beams and dams) with bricks and stones that will protect the house against flooding.
- If you already have a basement, seal the walls with waterproof compounds to avoid flooding your home from below.
- Scan your neighborhoods to find the nearest higher ground. If there is a flash flood, you may not have time to reach a shelter or to run from the water. After the flood passes, the rescue teams will find it and take it to a safe place.
- Develop an evacuation procedure and a communication plan with your entire family. It can be separated or not be together at the time of the flood and it is vital that everyone knows the drill.
Measures to take when there is a flood warning
As we explained earlier, a flood warning means that the flood is imminent. Now is the time to apply everything you’ve learned about preparing for the floods.
- Prepare your emergency kit and make sure everything is ready to go. Each member of your family must have an emergency kit in case of floods. In this way everything will be easier to carry.
- If there is an evacuation order, do not wait any longer. Get in the car and go! If the waters are high, they can flood an entire house for hours, even days. You do not want to be stuck inside when the level starts to rise.
- If the water rises too fast, try to reach higher ground. Flash floods are not as violent and usually go as fast as they come. If you are in the car, you can get trapped in the torrent and be transported for a few kilometers.
- Move your furniture and anything you do not want to be ruined by water to a higher floor. In this way, even if the water enters, the damage will be less significant.
- Always make sure to disconnect electrical appliances and, if possible, cut off the power completely. Water is a good electrical conductor and an appliance plugged in can cause injuries.
- Make sure you have enough gas in your car’s tank. You should also have a reserve tank to use in case it runs out. Service stations can be destroyed by floods and there will definitely be slow traffic.
The basic idea in an emergency situation (take any scenario you want) is to be calm and prepared. That is why it is of tremendous importance to know how to prepare for a flood.
Now that you are prepared, you also need to know what to do during the flood, when the water levels are high and they sweep everything in their path. Here are some tips on how to act during the flood:
- Do not try to cross the water in movement. If the current is strong, even water 15 cm (6 inches) deep could sink you. If you have no other choice, try to cross calm waters and use a stick to see what’s in front of you. Moving waters generally dislodge rocks, trees and other things from the ground. There may be large holes and you may get in one and break your leg.
- If the area is already flooded, do not drive your car through it. You do not know what’s under the water and you could get stuck. If this happens and the water starts entering the car, leave immediately.
- Do not get in the water if you see electrical equipment falling. Also, do not touch anything that may have electricity while you are in the water or wet.
Life after the flood: what to do immediately after
The first instinct of everyone after the flood is to run home and check for damage (in case you have to evacuate). If you are at home, you should make sure that everyone you know is safe. If power lines are down, so will telephone lines and communication could be difficult or impossible to establish.
Regardless of how impatient you are to hear about news about your loved ones, do not hit the road until authorities authorize it.
Here is a short list of what you should and should not do after the event that you should add to your flood preparation training:
- Listen to the news on the radio or watch them on television to find out where the safe areas are and where the water level is still high;
- Do not get on the road immediately after the flood. Waters usually break or weaken the structure of the road and you could cause a road to collapse under the weight of your car. Check with the authorities to find out which roads are safe;
- Do not drink water from a contaminated source. The best source immediately after the flood is bottled water. Floods generally pollute the water table with oils, fats and all kinds of unpleasant things that make water unhealthy to drink;
- Stay away from water where power lines are down. If a live cable hits the water, everyone in the water will be electrocuted. If you see a line down, call the electric company and avoid the area.
- Floods usually damage septic tanks, sewage pools and sewage systems. If this has happened on your property, be sure to repair those leaks as quickly as possible. If one of your neighbors has this problem, try to help him. These leaks can be a health hazard if they are not attended to on time.
- Make sure you clean all the mud in the house. Disinfect everything that has been trapped in the flood because they could be contaminated with germs and chemicals that threaten the health of your family.
- If you want to help emergency workers clean up the flood disaster, ask what you can do. If not, do not stay on your way and let them do their job.
What to put in the emergency supplies kit.
A very important part of your flood preparation training is knowing what to put in your emergency kit. The kit should be light, efficient and well packaged. When there is a flood clock, start testing your kit to see if it is light enough and if you have everything you might need.
An efficient emergency kit should contain the following items:
- Fresh water for approximately 2 days for each member of your family. If you have pets you must include your needs in the kit as well;
- Food (energy bars, nuts, dried fruit, canned food) for you (adults) and for your children. If you have babies do not forget the milk and the special food. Also food for your pets if it is the case;
- Medication (regular and special, if applicable);
- Waterproof bags;
- Important documents you do not want to ruin in the flood and your identification documents;
- Backup batteries;
- Battery-powered flashlight and climate radio in the emergency frequency;
- Blankets and raincoats;
- First aid kit;
- Waterproof clothing and shoes (rubber boots) to help you get through all the water without getting too wet.
Remember, these are just the basic elements. You should also think of any additional things you may need, such as diapers or extra money. If you have pets, do not forget to pack an emergency kit for them too.
How about flood insurance?
When anger arrives, it is good to have a safety net that will slow down the fall. Part of all preparation for flood action is making sure your insurance covers the damage caused by the water. This way you can recover faster after a big flood.
Of course, the value of insurance fluctuates according to the area in which you live and the specific risk factors. When it comes to a flood, the main risk factor is the frequency of the event and the location of your home. If you are in a place susceptible to flooding, the risk of a new lake in the living room being greater each season is greater, so the insurance will not be cheap. Still, it’s worth every dollar; It is quite difficult to recover after seeing all your life’s work destroyed in a few hours.
Although floods are some of the most frequent natural disasters, you may have trouble finding a good insurer. Most private insurers do not offer flood protection, since they do not see the possibility of obtaining a benefit from this. There are government programs, created especially for people who live in areas that flood frequently.
Then, if you can not find a good insurer, contact the local authorities and see if there is a program that can help you. As an example, in the United States of America there is the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) administered by FEMA, a program designed to help communities reduce future damage caused by floods.
Another thing that you should be careful about when talking about preparing for floods is the fact that the flood insurance is activated after 30 days from the date you signed the agreement. Anything that happens during this period is not covered. So, do not waste any more time and start looking for a good insurance policy.
You should also know that flood insurance is available, regardless of whether or not your home is located in a flood risk area. If you hear someone say that your flood insurance is not available because you do not live in a flood risk area, you can correct them without any doubt.
We know that floods are scary and the idea of losing everything in the blink of an eye is totally frightening, but before signing an expensive insurance policy, find out about the risk factor in your area. If you live in the USA UU., Contact FEMA and ask how to get more information about flood preparedness and flood insurance. Be sure to live in an area in danger of extinction and measure the risk of your home being affected by a flood. All this information will help you learn more about how to prepare for a flood and what measures are absolutely necessary.
The main conclusion here is that, in case of a flood, all you can do to survive is prepare yourself. Floods are some of the most destructive natural phenomena and, sometimes, regardless of your efforts to stop them, you still have to evacuate. If this happens, you do not have to think twice: take your emergency supplies kit and your family and leave. If you have time, bring furniture and valuables upstairs.
Do not try to stay against the advice of the authorities, the rescue teams are already very busy and may not contact you in time. It is true that a house that has been flooded needs a lot of repairs, but if you lose your family or your health during the flood it will not be better. Make sure you are covered for most of the damage and try to follow the plan as discussed with your family during the flood preparation training.
Natural disasters are simply events in our lives that help us appreciate what is important in life: our family and friends.