Flood Safety Tips & Pointers to Keep You Alive in an Emergency

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Flooding is a common natural hazard in Texas which is not only destructive but can also be deadly. Every year, the number of deaths caused by flooding outweigh those that result from any other thunderstorm-related hazard. And, unfortunately, the most common of these happen when someone drives into dangerous flood waters. Thankfully, there are a number of steps you can take to not only protect yourself and your family but also your home in some instances as well. When preparing for rising flood water, here are some safety tips to assist you, as well as pointers on what to do when a flood has begun. Most importantly, keep in mind that if evacuations have been ordered or recommended, you should leave immediately rather than risk your life by lingering.

  • Gather up some medical emergency provisions as well as food and water supplies.
  • Construct levees or barriers to stop the flow of water into your home.
  • To avoid the potential for seepage, seal basement walls with waterproofing compounds.
  • Keep a radio or television on or handy to ensure you get the latest updates and information.
  • Have all immunization records handy and keep important documents in a waterproof container.
  • If an evacuation order appears imminent, turn off the main power switch and the main gas valve to your home. Then calmly and safely follow evacuation plans.
  • Have bags packed with necessary items in the instance your family needs to evacuate, including medications.
  • If there is a flash flood warning, immediately move to higher ground and if possible, take essential items to a higher floor of your home.
  • In the instance of an evacuation, try to avoid going through moving water. Keep in mind that a person can fall in as little as 6 inches of moving water, and if necessary, make use of a stick to ensure the ground ahead of you is firm or safe to traverse.
  • Do not drive into areas that are flooded. If floodwaters surround your vehicle, whenever safely possible, you should abandon it and move to higher ground. Just one foot of moving floodwater can sweep your vehicle away. In addition, stay away from bridges over fast-moving water.
  • If you are wet or are standing in water, do not touch electrical equipment.
Flood Safety Tips & Pointers to Keep You Alive in an Emergency

Photo: Max Pixel

Bear in mind, there are further risks to plan and prepare for following a flood as well. Infectious diseases and potential chemical hazards can be spread through standing floodwaters. Making your way through standing water can also cause injuries, so plan to protect yourself and your family as best as possible. Upon returning to a home that has been damaged by flooding, employ safe cleaning practices. Wear heavy boots and gloves to help protect against snakes and other animals which may have taken refuge in your house. Discard insulation and drywall that became wet and damaged. Get rid of items that can neither be cleaned with a bleach solution nor washed properly. This includes such items as carpet, pillows, mattresses, and stuffed toys. The health and welfare of your family and yourself is first and foremost, and insurance claims and paperwork can be filed accordingly, at the appropriate time. Stay safe and head all public warnings accordingly.