Flood Defense: 13 Must-Know FEMA Tips to Keep Your Head Above Water

A look at FEMA's 13 steps to take in the event of a massive flood.
flood safety FEMA flooding
Some floods happen quickly; others develop slowly. Some are localized; others, like the one pictured above, devastate whole population centers.

According to FEMA, flooding is one of the most common kinds of disasters in the United States. Some floods develop slowly; others happen seemingly instantly, and with no visible sign of rain. But, for those living in low-lying areas and/or beside waters sources such as lakes, oceans, rivers and streams—which is much of the American population—the risk is constant. And just because floods are essentially unpredictable, it pays to be always prepared and to have a plan of action. To that end, we’ve reposted FEMA’s 13 must-know flood tips—essential steps to take before and during a flood to minimize your exposure and keep your head safely above the troubled waters.

Before

1. Build an emergency kit and make a family communications plan.

2. Avoid building in a floodplain unless you elevate and reinforce your home.

3. Elevate the furnace, water heater and electric panel in your home if you live in an area that has a high flood risk.

4. Consider installing “check valves” to prevent flood water from backing up into the drains of your home.

5. If feasible, construct barriers to stop floodwater from entering the building and seal walls in basements with waterproofing compounds.

During

6. Listen to the radio or television for information.

7. Be aware that flash flooding can occur. If there is any possibility of a flash flood, move immediately to higher ground. Do not wait for instructions to move.

8. Be aware of stream, drainage channels, canyons and other areas known to flood suddenly. Flash floods can occur in these areas with or without typical warnings such as rain clouds or heavy rain.

9. Secure your home. If you have time, bring in outdoor furniture. Move essential items to an upper floor.

10. Turn off utilities at the main switches or valves if instructed to do so. Disconnect electrical appliances. Do not touch electrical equipment if you are wet or standing in water.

11. Do not walk through moving water. Six inches of moving water can make you fall. If you have to walk in water, walk where the water is not moving. Use a stick to check the firmness of the ground in front of you.

12. Do not drive into flooded areas. If floodwaters rise around your car, abandon the car and move to higher ground, when water is not moivng or not more than a few inches deep. You and the vehicle can be swept away quickly. If your vehicle is trapped in rapidly moving water, stay in the vehicle. If the water is rising inside the vehicle, seek refuge on the roof.

13. Do not camp or park your vehicle along streams, rivers or creeks, particularly during threatening conditions.

For more information, visit http://www.ready.gov/floods

 

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