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Flood Risk is Rising

Floods can strike unexpectedly and cause significant damage to homes, communities, and lives. Being prepared and informed about flood safety measures is crucial to ensuring the safety of yourself and your family during such events. This page provides valuable information and practical tips to help you stay safe and protect your loved ones before and during a flood.

On this page you will find:

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Protect Yourself and Your Family

Safeguarding yourself and your family during a flood is paramount. Below are vital measures to guarantee your well-being:

Stay informed: Monitor weather updates from reliable sources, such as local authorities or the National Weather Service. Be aware of any evacuation orders or shelter-in-place advisories in your area.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) app, can be used to receive real-time weather alerts, send notifications to loved ones, locate emergency shelters and FEMA Disaster Recovery Centers, and more.

The American Red Cross Emergency App, lets you customize 40 different weather alerts and has an interactive map to help you find open Red Cross shelters.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) offers useful tips for preventing heat-related illness.

Also, using as a valuable resource can help you proactively protect yourself before a disaster strikes by providing accurate and up-to-date information on severe weather conditions, warnings, and forecasts specific to your location, empowering you to make informed decisions and take necessary precautions to ensure your safety.

People with disabilities: Preparing for disasters is crucial for everyone, but it becomes even more vital for individuals with disabilities, who may have specific needs and require additional support during emergencies. Find practical steps and considerations to ensure the safety and well-being of people with disabilities in the face of potential disasters here.

Create an Emergency Plan: Develop a detailed plan with your family members and pets on what to do before, during, and after the flood. Designate a safe meeting place, establish communication methods, and assign responsibilities to each family member. Ensure all family members are familiar with the plan and practice it through regular drills.

Prepare an Emergency Kit: Assemble a well-stocked emergency kit that includes essential supplies such as non-perishable food, drinking water, medication, flashlights, batteries, a first aid kit, important documents, and a battery-powered radio. Customize the kit according to your family’s specific needs, including items for infants, older adults, and pets.

Evacuation Planning: Follow evacuation orders issued by local authorities promptly. Your safety is their top priority. Plan multiple evacuation routes and practice them with your family. If you need to evacuate, turn off gas, electricity, and water supplies before leaving.

Stay Safe During Floods: Avoid walking or driving through floodwaters. Just six inches of moving water can knock you down, and two feet of water can sweep away most vehicles. Stay vigilant and away from downed power lines and report them to authorities.

Stay Connected: Maintain communication with family members and friends, letting them know your whereabouts and well-being. Use social media, messaging apps, or emergency hotlines to stay updated and let others know you’re safe.

Identify a Safe Shelter: Identify a sturdy, designated shelter area within your home or community. It should be located on higher ground, as far away from water sources (such as rivers) as possible. Listen to local authorities and follow their recommendations for safe shelters. They will provide information about the nearest and safest options based on the specific flood situation.

After the Flood: Wait for authorities to declare it safe before returning to your home. Check for structural damage and ensure your home is safe to enter. Take photos of any damage for insurance claims and file a claim as soon as possible. Learn more on how to recover after a flood, navigate renters insurance, and homeowners insurance.

Emotional Well-being: Experiencing a flood can be emotionally distressing. Reach out to friends, family, or mental health professionals for support. Encourage open communication with your family members about their feelings and concerns.

Seek Support: Reach out to local emergency services and support organizations for assistance, if needed. They can provide resources for recovery, temporary shelter, and aid in the aftermath of the storm.

By staying informed, prepared, and proactive, you can significantly increase your chances of keeping yourself and your family safe during a flood. Remember that your safety is the top priority, and following the guidance of local authorities is crucial. Taking these steps and being vigilant can help minimize the impact of floods and ensure a quicker recovery for you and your loved ones.

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Protect Your Home

Floods can happen suddenly and cause extensive damage to homes and property. Taking proactive measures to protect your home can minimize damage and ensure your family’s safety. Below are crucial actions to ensure the safety of your home during a flood:

Flood Insurance Coverage: Ensure you have flood insurance coverage to financially protect your home and belongings from flood-related damage.

Elevate and Secure Valuables: Store important documents like birth certificates, insurance policies, and identification papers in a waterproof container or a safe deposit box. Elevate electrical appliances and utilities like HVAC systems, circuit breakers, and switches to minimize damage.

Flood-Proof Your Home: Use sandbags or flood barriers to redirect water away from your home’s entry points. Install sump pumps, check valves, and backflow prevention devices to prevent water from entering your home’s basement.

Emergency Shut-Offs: Clearly label and familiarize yourself with the location of your home’s gas, water, and electricity shut-off valves. In case of flooding, shutting these off can prevent further damage.

Seal Entry Points: Apply waterproof sealants or caulking around doors, windows, and other openings to prevent water from seeping into your home.

Clear Gutters and Drains: Ensure that your gutters, downspouts, and storm drains are clear of debris. This will help water flow freely and reduce the risk of water accumulation around your home.

Sump Pump Installation: Consider installing a sump pump in your basement or lower levels. A sump pump can remove excess water and prevent flooding in vulnerable areas.

After a federal disaster declaration, individuals may be eligible for the Individual and Households Program (IHP) which provides financial and direct aid to eligible individuals and households affected by a disaster, who have uninsured or under-insured essential expenses and serious needs. Consider checking whether your state, county, or city has a Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) which may be able to assist with roof repairs or replacement.  Additionally, you may be eligible for a Small Business Administration (SBA) Disaster Loan to aid in repairs.

Backflow Prevention: Install backflow prevention valves in your home’s plumbing to prevent sewage from flowing back into your house during flooding.

Elevate Outdoor Equipment: Elevate fuel tanks, air conditioning units, and outdoor equipment to reduce the risk of contamination and damage from floodwaters.

By implementing these practical measures, you can significantly reduce the risk of flood-related damage to your home and protect your family’s safety. Taking steps to prepare your home for potential flooding is a wise investment that can save you from costly repairs and ensure peace of mind during adverse weather conditions.

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Protect Your Business

Floods can have devastating effects on businesses, causing damage to property, disrupting operations, and posing risks to employees and customers. Proper preparation and swift action are key to minimizing the impact of floods on your business. Below are key steps to safeguard your business:

Follow Regulatory Guidance: The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) provides guidelines and regulations that businesses must follow to protect workers during emergencies. Their role in a business’s emergency preparedness and response is to establish regulatory requirements, provide guidance, and promote a safe and healthy work environment for employees, thereby minimizing risks and ensuring the protection of workers during emergencies. Click here for more information on how to prepare and train for emergencies and the hazards to be aware of when an emergency occurs here.

Risk Assessment: Identify flood-prone areas near your business and evaluate the potential impact of flooding on your property, inventory, and operations.

Develop a Business Continuity Plan: Create a comprehensive Continuity of Operations Plan (COOP) that outlines steps to be taken before, during, and after a disaster. Identify critical operations, key personnel, and establish alternative communication channels and backup systems.

Inventory and Documentation: Maintain an updated inventory of assets, equipment, and valuable items. Store digital copies of important documents off-site or in secure cloud storage.

Review Insurance Coverage: Consult with your insurance provider to understand your coverage and ensure it is sufficient to protect your assets and operations. Consider obtaining coverage for business interruption, property damage, and other relevant policies specific to your industry.

Emergency Supplies: Assemble emergency kits containing essential supplies like first aid materials, flashlights, batteries, and emergency contact lists.

Secure the Premises and Protect Equipment and Inventory: Turn off electricity, gas, and water supplies to prevent further damage and hazards. Elevate critical equipment and inventory to higher ground or, if possible, move them to a safe location.

Floods can be disruptive, but with proper planning, quick action, and effective communication, you can safeguard your business from significant damage and ensure a smoother recovery process. By following the steps outlined above, you can protect your business, employees, and assets before, during, and after a flood, and increase your chances of resuming normal operations as soon as possible.

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Protect Your Community

In the face of a flood, a united and informed community can make a significant difference in minimizing damage, ensuring safety, and supporting one another. This section aims to empower communities with practical strategies to protect themselves and collaborate effectively before, during, and after a flood event.

Establish a Community Emergency Response Team (CERT): CERT members can provide immediate assistance and support during emergencies, such as search and rescue operations or basic medical aid. Click here to find out more about CERT members.

Stay Informed: Stay tuned to weather forecasts and official alerts. Spread the word quickly through established communication channels.

Develop Evacuation Plans: Collaboratively design evacuation routes, assembly points, and safe havens for community members to gather during floods.

Coordinate with Local Authorities: Establish connections with local emergency agencies, fire departments, and police to access accurate information and assistance. You can find more information on local organizations here.

Support Vulnerable Community Members: Identify and support individuals who may require additional assistance during emergencies, such as older adult residents, those with disabilities, and families with young children. Establish a system to check on their well-being and provide aid if needed.

Post-Flood Assessments: Collaborate with local authorities to assess damage, prioritize recovery tasks, and share information on available resources.

Mutual Support: Arrange meetings or gatherings where community members can share their experiences, offer assistance, and collectively plan recovery efforts.

Foster Community Resilience: Encourage community members to engage in activities that promote resilience, such as disaster preparedness workshops, neighborhood cleanup initiatives, or community-wide emergency drills. Building a resilient community strengthens its ability to withstand and recover from disasters.

A united community that is well-prepared and informed can effectively protect itself and reduce the impact of floods. By working together, staying informed, and implementing well-thought-out strategies, your community can enhance its resilience, support its members, and bounce back stronger after flood events. Remember, community resilience starts with proactive engagement and a shared commitment to safeguarding lives and property.

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