Keep Your Head Above Water
Nearly every day, flooding happens somewhere in the U.S. or its territories. Flooding can cause more damage in the country than any other weather event—to the tune of about 8 billion dollars a year. Flood Awareness Month is the perfect time to go over your flood plan with your family to increase your safety and your chances of survival if it happens in your area.
Know Your Risk
- Are you in a flood plain? You can find out from FEMA at https://msc.fema.gov/portal/home.
- Do you live near a dam or levee system? The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has information about dams and levees or your local NWS office can assist you in finding this information.
Make a Plan
Prepare a family disaster plan. This may include assembling a disaster supplies kit, a place to go if you are required to evacuate your home and a way to keep in touch with relatives and friends. Red Cross or FEMA websites can guide you with ideas and examples.
Insurance: Most homeowners insurance does not cover flood damage and just an inch of water can cause up to $25,000 in damage. Instead, flood insurance is delivered through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), is managed by FEMA and is delivered to the public by a network if approximately 60 insurance companies and the NFIP Direct. Flood insurance is available to anyone living in one of the 23,000 participating NFIP communities. Homes and businesses in high-risk flood areas with mortgages from government-backed lenders are required to have flood insurance. For more information on what is covered and to find a policy, visit FloodSmart.gov.
Itemize your property: Make an itemized list of your personal property well in advance. Take photographs or video the interior and exterior of your home. This is good advice for any disaster, from floods to tornadoes to a robbery.
During a flood:
- Avoid areas subject to sudden flooding.
- Even six inches of fas moving floodwater can knock you off your feet. A depth of two feet will float your car! Never try to walk, swim or drive through such swift water.
- Do not attempt to drive over a flood road. Turn around and go the other way.
After a flood:
- Boil drinking water before using. If fresh food comes into contact with floodwaters, throw it out.
- Seek necessary medical care at the nearest hospital. Red Cross shelters are available for clothing, shelter and first aid.
- Use flashlights, not lanterns or torches, to examine buildings in case flammable are inside.
- Do not handle live electrical equipment in wet areas.