How to Prepare for a Floods

Prepping for flooding

Prepare for Floods
How to prepare for floods

El Nino is coming with a vengeance and a message: everyone
lives in a flood zone! That's a fact! Floods occur in deserts,
particularly in monsoon season, and can happen anywhere. All it
takes "heavy and steady" rains. Floods are caused by storms,
hurricanes, heavy rains and thunderstorms, flash floods and
levees that break, or being downhill from heavy snow that melts.

Climate changes are also to blame! Are you ready? It's already

Ten things you probably didn't know about
floods in America
We're blowing the whistle on the devastating effects of flooding
the ten things you didn't know about floods in America:

#1: Flood usually isn't covered by insurance.
Most homeowners insurance policies and renter's policies exclude
coverage for losses resulting from flood damage. Talk with your
insurance agent. As a general rule unless you purchase a flood
policy, you do not have coverage for flood losses. That's why it's
important to get it. Here's how to buy flood insurance.

  • Concerned about snow melt flooding? Midwinter and early
    spring can produce runoff. Be prepared with snow melt
    insurance for your home, business and contents, but most of
    all, make a plan for your survival.

#2: Even in an inch of water, you should be thinking
about survival.
That's the advice given by Les Stroud, who offers strategies for
surviving a flood in the video below. Waters rise very quickly and
can be deceiving.

  • Two inches of water. Even a few inches of floodwater can
    bring thousands of dollars in property damage not covered
    by homeowners insurance.

  • Six inches of water. Flood water (about ankle height) can
    knock you off your feet!

  • Two feet of water.  Floodwaters will "transport" cars easily
    even if just two feet high.

Below is a partial clip from Les Stroud of his flood survival
strategies. Among the ideas garnered is to keep your feet dry as
you could be in the flood waters for some time. You can
hopefully grab trash bags from the kitchen and fashion rubber
boots if you don't have them.

In the video above, Les offers lots of great advice for surviving a flood, but
there's one major point he's overlooked (that's Hollywood for you): don't
light a match for a fire or a candle! You must first assess the situation for
gas leaks so you don't have an explosion. Be safe and get out your LED
lights or solar lights. Some preppers tape flashlights to every doorway to
make them easy to find.

#3: Flash flooding can occur even when it's not
Flash flooding can happen when a huge amount of rainfall
happens in a short time, which is why many are surprised that
flash flooding can happen even when it's not raining at all. So
why is it often on a sunny day when a flash flood occurs?

Floods normally take about six hours to occur! The cause of
the flash flood could be that it was raining upstream of disaster
in the previous hours. Ir might also be a dam or levee failure.
Urbanization is partially to blame, too. Urban areas lose the
ability to absorb water because cement can't hold, so the roads
can quickly become streams and rivers.

#4: Driving into the water is what kills most people
in a flood.
If you're caught in the path of flash flooding do not attempt to
cross the flow of water, even if it appears safe in just a foot of
water. The road underneath could be eroded with hidden
dangers. Debris could slam into your vehicle or your vehicle could
float away. If caught in the waters do these two things:
  1. unbuckle your seatbelt and know you may not be able to
    open the car door
  2. roll down the window, so you have room to escape before
    the electricity stops and traps you inside.

#5: Flash flooding is most common in dry areas.
It may surprise you to know that flash flooding is most common
in dry areas, not the rainy areas. Sun-drenched Arizona, for
example, is extremely vulnerable to flash flooding when the rains
hit up in the mountains. Storms peak after monsoon season
between mid-July and mid-August, making this region more

#6: Flash flooding can happen during ice storms, too.
Ice dam flooding occurs when waters freeze significant ice and
extreme precipitation follow. Chunks of ice push then to create a
sort of natural dam that eventually breaks and causes water to
push through in a flash.

#7: Forest fires are a reason behind some flash
Another surprising realization of flooding is that nearby forest
fires make your home more susceptible to flooding. After the
fires come the floods! Lesson learned? If you live near a forest
where wildfires are common, you're in a susceptible flood zone.

#8: Sewage waters after the flooding could kill
Since sewage, oils and debris and corpses enter the floodwaters,
you'll want to avoid this deadly mix and steer clear from
contamination with anything that touches your mouth.Dishes,
toothbrushes or food could be deadly. Even a bottled water that
has touched the floodwaters may require filtration before
touching your lips.

#9: Flash floods by night are the most dangerous.
Evening brings new dangers as it is more difficult to recognize
flood dangers. If you know of a flash flood warning

#10: Everyone lives in a flood zone!
No one is exempt from flood dangers, but you can get a leg up
by staying away from natural drainage areas, rivers and canyons.
Flooding is the most prevalent natural disaster in America! With
that in mind, learn how to survive the fatal flooding that's

Oh, and about that insurance in #1 above, know that it takes 30
days before the insurance will take effect. If you buy insurance
coverage on say on October 1, it won't be in effect until October
31! Yeah, that's pretty scary! There is a 30-day waiting period,
so the faster you talk with your insurance agent the more quickly
your coverage can begin. Give your agent a call and learn more
about how to prepare for the flooding that's inevitable...

How to Prepare for a Floods
When the waters rise, will you know what to do? Here's a list of
things to consider, from a prepper's perspective:

#1: Make a sandbagging plan.
The time to get sandbags is before the storm! Though some may
be available from emergency services during a flood, you may not
know where to get them when you need them most. You'll be
able to respond more quickly and effectively if you already have
them at home ready for the floods.

  • Caught without sandbags and no time to buy? Build your
    fortifications with your family sock collection as well T-shirts
    tied at the ends. Do whatever it takes -- even plastic bags
    filled with dirt can help you direct the flow. It doesn't have
    to be pretty to divert water.

  • Caught without the sand? Gravel with dirt will do.

You can also think beyond sandbagging with these ideas:

  • QuickDam Flood Barrier. Protect your garage or doorways
    from water and mud flowing inside with QuickDam Flood
    Barrier. QuickDam will protect your home or property in
    times of flooding with less dam sand and less sandbags!
    Quick Dam expands and activates on contact with water,
    growing in size to absorb, contain and divert water.

  • HydraBarrier. Fight water with water! HydaBarrier is the
    ecofriendly sand bag alternative. You can fill it using
    standard garden hose to divert water and protect doors and
    windows from entering your home. Just unpack, fill with
    water, place in front of the vulnerable area and you're done!

  • HydraSorber. HydraSorber is another sandless sandbag.
    Self-inflating bags fully inflate in less than three minutes
    either by submerging in water or absorbing rainwater.

The purpose of sandbagging is to create a dike to control water
flow.  Fill them halfway full before tying the knot (otherwise they
will burst and your dike will fail). Stack sandbags like you're
laying bricks.

#2: Install a sump pump.
Be sure to get a submersible sump pump and have backup power
to run it. The best selling submersible utility pump is by
Superior, and it can pump 30 gallons of water a minute up to 25
feet of vertical height. Pictured immediate right, it has more than
1,500 positive five-star reviews.

#3: Tape a gas shutoff valve to your main gas valve.
Don't let the bright yellow packaging of the Earthquake Survival
Tool, pictured left, confuse you. Shutting off the gas is just as
important before the floods as it is after an earthquake! By
taping the gas shutoff valve to your main gas valve you'll make it
ready for use when you need it.

#4: Consider building a platform for your water
heater and furnace.
If you are a homeowner and your water heater or furnace goes
out (or is about to go out), then re-install it on an elevated
platform to better protect your investment, and to help prepare
for flooding.

#5: Get a tetanus shot!
When was your last tetanus shot? Consider keeping up to date
(or getting your first). Flooding causes a variety of dangerous
debris, and eve the smallest of puncture wounds may lead to
infection. Since tetanus shots last about ten years and you may
not know when you had it last, consider getting a booster.

  • If you live in a flood-prone zone, stock your attic!
  • Raft and oars
  • Crowbar to escape the attic
  • raft repair kit
  • air pump
  • life vests
  • Basics, such as a first aid kit, flashlight, flares and

#6: Keep your gas tank full.
Fuel may not be available following a flood as trucks can't get to
your area or the destruction is too significant. In theory, preppers
never leave their gas tank below the halfway mark.

#8: Add flood insurance to your policy.
Flooding causes damage to U.S. roads amounting to $6 billion
annually! Ask your insurance representative about flood
insurance. You'll be happy you did in the event of flooding
because flood losses are not covered under normal homeowners'
or renters' insurance policies.

#9: Check your home history on FEMA's Flood Maps.
It's good to know the flood dangers in our area and you can
check with the federal government which has maps available.
Take a look at what floods may have happed at your address.
Type in your address and poke around to see what's happened to
your homes and those nearby.

When there's a flood warning...
You know those flash flooding warnings that come on the radio
and television? Heed the warnings! If you know flooding is
imminent in your area, and you must evacuate your home, you
should try to shut off your gas and electricity before you leave
and do these things:

#1: Shut off gas and electricity before the floods.
The aforementioned gas shutoff tool (the earthquake tool) could
save your life in flooding. The last thing you need after a flood is
to have an explosion on your hands.

#2 Move valuables.
Move appliances, like your television and stereo equipment to
the upper floors of your home, or stow them in the highest
possible place in your home, away from windows and doors.
Wrap them in blankets.

#3: Bring the lawn furniture inside.
You won't want all the stuff in your backyard or patio to become
the debris that destroys or damages your property. Get the
furniture inside!

#4: Find your life jackets!
It's time to pull out those kiddie life jackets from the summer
and have them on deck for the kids. Get out those life jackets
from water sports if you have them stored separately from you
boat or jet skis.

#5: Shut off the electricity before you go.
Shut off the electricity before you evacuate! Obviously you should
never touch a circuit breaker while standing in water or you'll
suffer an electrocution. For extra measure, turn it off with an non-
conducive lever.

#6: Grab your bugout bag, and you're ready to
If you get an evacuation notice, take heed and leave before it's
too late. You're a prepper and have your bugout bag.

During a flood....

  • Don't go with the flow! Never walk through flowing water -
    ever! Even six inches of floodwater can make you lose
    balance. What's worse, the ground under the water flow may
    cause you to sink or get stuck.

  • Caught in a flood on foot? You can't fight the current, but
    you can ride it out the way you'd do if you lost control while
    river rafting. Point your feet downstream and keep your head
    up! Now work your way to the flood edge so you can grab
    hold of a bush or tree to pull yourself up.

  • Caught in a flood while in the car? You may feel overly
    confident in an SUV with four-wheel drive, but know that
    even two feet of water can sweep your car away into deeper
    waters quickly. Water pressure on the doors makes it
    extremely difficult to open the doors for escape. If you act
    immediately to open the windows, you'll be better able to
    plan your escape. If you haven't rolled the windows in time,
    hopefully you've packed the hammer, picture right, to crack

    If you watched the Les Stroud video on escaping a car, you'd
    learn that you can take a sock and fill it with your keys and
    all the loose change to break the window. It sounds easy
    enough, and certainly it's worth a try, but why not just get a
    life hammer and be happy with your decision.

After the flooding...

Once all is clear, you can head back home to access the damage.

#1: Know there is danger as the flood recedes.
Situational awareness after the floods is an important
consideration. Even when waters have receded, danger may still
be close at hand, so:

  • Look for downed power lines. Do not step in puddles
    around downed power lines or you're toast.

  • Listen for hissing. If you smell gas or hear a hissing noise,
    call your fire department and leave the area. Even though
    you may be tempted, don't light a candle or deal with open
    flames after flooding for this reason!

  • Take care to shut off circuit breakers. Hopefully you've
    already turned off the power at the main circuit breaker, but
    if you didn't you can take proper precautions to do it
    correctly. If it's still on, wear rubber gloves and turn it off
    with something non-conductive -- like a wooden spoon or
    plastic broom handle.

  • Beware of further collapse and damage. After the
    floodwaters subside, beware of collapse and damage of
    buildings. Appearances of the building conditions may fool
    you. Just because a building looks safe, doesn't mean it is.

#2: Get to work cleaning up.

  • Get out the protective gear. Wear rubber boots and gloves
    as you fish through your possessions and check your home.
    Every prepper should own a pair of rain boots and they are
    cheap, around $20. Be sure to avoid trench foot! Take time
    to dry out and change your socks.

  • Drain your basement slowly. Take three days to drain it.
    One third drainage each day will avoid damaging your
    home's stability.

  • Make mold and mildew preparations. When the flood
    waters subside, you'll need to consider mold and mildew.
    Mold could be more damaging to lives and property than the
    other damages of flood.

Happy endings...
Your life preserver in dealing with flash floods is preparedness!
Remember that your survival strategy depends on your
preparations even in just an inch of water. Noah knew that
concept and now you know how better to prepare for floods.

Articles on other natural disasters...

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