How to Keep Your Family Safe During a Flood

There have been a lot of Midwestern floods in the news lately. Floods can be absolutely devastating, both to your property, and to your physical and mental health. Therefore, it is important, especially in flood-prone areas, to know how to be prepared, and to be aware of the dos and don’ts of dealing with a flood.

There isn’t much we can do to prevent a flood. The best we can do is to avoid building or buying in floodplains, and to purchase flood insurance in flood-prone areas. No matter what precautions are taken, however, people can still find themselves in the midst of a flood. Here are some things that you should and should not do if you find yourself in this position.

One of the most important precautions you can take is to know the difference between a flood watch and a flood warning. According to National Geographic, a flood watch indicates that a flood may happen; a flood warning indicates that a flood will happen, or is already happening. Pay careful attention to emergency broadcasts; if an evacuation is recommended or ordered, heed that and get somewhere safe.

You and your family should have an evacuation plan. Make sure your children know how to call 911, and how to turn off the electricity and gas. Have a designated area—preferably some place that’s sure to be relatively safe from flood waters—and have a designated emergency contact. Since local phone lines may be down after a flood, it’s a good idea to have the contact live out of town.

If you don’t manage to get out in time and you find yourself dealing with a flood, there are a few precautions you should always follow:

• Never walk in moving water. A mere six inches of water can make a person fall, and even drown. Also, if you do have to walk in water, try to have a stick so you can ensure the ground in front of you is stable before you step.

• If you must drive, be very careful. Pay attention to the barriers—they are there to protect you from damaged roads, bridges, etc.

• Electricity and gas are a big concern in floods. Keep away from power lines (and report them to authorities). Try to avoid going into your home until you are cleared to by authorities; if you absolutely must go back into your house, first turn off the electricity and gas. Even unplugged items can be dangerous.

• Don’t drink any water that may be contaminated with flood water. It is a good idea to boil non-bottled water for some time after a flood before drinking it. You will be informed when the drinking water is safe again.

One of the most devastating things about a flood is the damage to your home. This is especially dangerous, because moist items and building materials are magnets for mold. It’s not a bad idea to have professionals perform flood remediation in your home, so you can quickly get your life back.

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