You are here: Home > Complete Preparedness Library > Natural Disasters and Bad Weather > Floods > Before, During, And After A Flood

Before, During, And After A Flood

before during and after a flood

Floods can be devastating as regards human safety and life and property damage. Certain areas are much more likely to be impacted by floods, such as coastal areas, flood plains next to rivers, and regions subject to snow melt and heavy rainfall in the spring. Even deserts can experience flash floods from storms that occurred miles away. Of course, not building or buying a house in any of these areas would be the easiest solution, but this is often not feasible for a number of reasons.

Preparations Before A Flood

If you do have a home where flooding might be a problem, there are steps to take that can help to make your home safer when the waters rise. Raise your furnace and water heater on platforms to keep them above water. Your electric fuse box or circuit panel should be well above anywhere water could theoretically reach. The walls of your basement can be sealed with a water-proofing compound to help keep water from entering, and ‘check valves’ can be used in your sewer pipe to keep waste materials from backing up into your basement. Having a sump pump on hand is also a good idea. Make sure your emergency supplies are above the expected water level.

What To Do During A Flood

The most important thing to do during a flood is to keep tuned to your radio to keep abreast of the situation. Move your valuables and emergency supplies to an upper story of the house, and if you do not have an emergency water supply already, fill the bathtub and any other containers with water. An order for evacuation may be given, so be ready to leave at a moment’s notice.

If you are caught outside by floodwater, try to get to higher ground right away. Driving through floodwater is hazardous, and if you see rising water on the road ahead, turn around immediately. Should your car stall out from the flood, leave it and get to higher ground – climb a tree if necessary.

Do not step in the floodwaters, they could contain electric wires or sharp objects, and do not let your pets go into the water, either.

After The Flood

Once the waters recede, you will have to undertake a cleanup in your house and yard. Flood waters and the mud they usually leave behind can be contaminated with dangerous bacteria, molds, or viruses and you should always wear protective gear while cleaning up. You should wear a long sleeved shirt, long pants, rubber boots, rubber gloves, safety glasses, and a face mask. Anything in your house that cannot be easily cleaned or washed should be thrown out. This will include any upholstered furniture, pillows, rugs, and mattresses. Clothing and bedding will need to be washed in hot, sudsy water, and the clothes you wear while cleaning should not be washed with uncontaminated clothing.

All food that is not in sealed containers must be discarded. Cans that have been exposed to floodwaters must have their labels removed and then be thoroughly washed with hot water and dishwashing liquid.

Keep children and pets away from the area until the cleanup is complete. Make sure you have a first aid kit for your children as well as one specifically designed for pets in case something does happen however. The faster you are able to clean your home, the less likely it will be that mold and mildew will be able to get established, creating more health problems.