Floods are probably the most common natural hazards throughout the world these days, most especially in the US. The effects of floods are generally very devastating as they affect entire communities, neighborhoods and localities. They end up effecting very large areas like multiple states and river basins. However, not all floods hit in the same manner. Some floods take place slowly, increasing over some days. But faster floods referred to as “flash floods” tend to develop very quickly, in just a matter of a few minutes – that too without any visible or predictable signs. Flash floods have dangerous huge walls of water, roaring at a great pace carrying debris, mud and rocks with them. They have such high pressures that they can actually sweep away most things that come in their path.
Land floods usually occur due to heavy rains and the overflowing of defined streams and river. Flooding also occurs when dams break and produce similar effects as flash floods. No matter where you live, the most important thing is to know how to safe yourself if you happen to be caught in a flood. People that live near low-lying areas or near rivers or dams need to be extra cautious, as they are more at a risk of facing floods.
What To Do Before A Flood?
It is always a good thing to be well prepared for a natural disaster before it hits. Similarly, there are a number of things you can do to get prepared for a flood, such as:
- Reinforce your home or elevate it. It is generally better to avoid getting or building homes in flood-prone areas.
- If your area is at a higher risk of floods, make sure the electric panels, water heaters and furnaces are elevated.
- Make sure sewer traps have check valves installed. This helps prevent flood water from backing up into the home through drains.
Usually, community officials in flood-prone areas construct flood walls or barriers to stop flood water from entering homes. Find out if community officials in your area are doing so too and get your home well protected.
Make sure basement walls are well sealed with waterproofing. This will help avoid seepages in your home.
What To Do During Floods?
If your area is likely going to be hit by a flood, be sure to:
- Watch the news and listen to the radio for any important announcements and important information.
- Be mentally aware of the fact that flash floods can likely occur.
- Get to higher grounds or levels on the slightest hunch of a flash flood possibly occurring.
- Don’t wait for instructions from officials before you decide to move. The sooner you move the better.
- Beware and try to avoid areas that are known to flood suddenly, such as canyons, streams and drainage channels. Such areas are more prone to flash floods occurring without warnings (typical warnings like heavy rains or clouds).
If You Must Evacuate
If evacuation is unavoidable, you will need to do the following few things ASAP to get prepared:
Move all important items to higher floors and bring all necessary outdoor furniture in. Secure all openings in the home.
Disconnect and turn off all appliances from the main switches. Avoid touching or stay as far away as possible from electrical equipments, especially if you are near water or are wet.
If you have to leave home, remember the following tips:
Don’t walk through running water. Six inch deep water can make you slip and fall, so be sure to walk in areas that don’t have running water. Sometimes drains or gutters maybe open and once the entire area is flooded they won’t be detected. Use sticks before stepping anywhere, so as to know the firmness of the ground.
If you’re in a car, stay away from flooded areas. If the level of floodwaters rises around your car, don’t hesitate to abandon it and try to move to a higher ground to stay safe.
Flood Facts To Remember When Driving
- During floods, water tends to rise to dangerous levels.
- Cars often get completely or partially immersed, which causes stalling and loss of control while driving.
- Water rising a foot high is enough to make many vehicle float, (especially if it’s a flash flood).
- Rushing water of two feet will sweep away any vehicles (including pick-ups and SUV’s).
Recovering from floods is the most critical part. The following guidelines are sure to come in handy after a flood:
There is a high risk that standing water may be electrically charged due to damaged or underground electric power lines.
Roads usually stand a high chance of collapsing after floods, as they get weakened. Avoid going on roads with receded flood waters because they can collapse due to the weight of cars. Report any downed power lines you come across and stay as far away from them as possible.
Commit to Living