Flood risk tips
June 10, 2020
Did you know that floods are the most common natural disaster in the United States? Disclosure 1 Often an aftermath of hurricanes, floods pose a significant risk to homeowners. Follow these tips to prepare your home and family in the event of a flood.
Before a flood
- Know the flood risks in your area. Do you live in a flood zone? How likely is it that your home will be impacted by a flood? Visit FEMA’s Flood Map Service Center(opens in a new tab) and enter your address for the latest information.
- Have a plan. Get familiar with evacuation routes in your area in case you have to leave quickly. If you’re weathering the storm from home, follow the tips below in advance.
- Listen to or watch local weather forecasts when there’s threat of heavy rains or storms. Follow recommendations from local authorities about safety, evacuations, and preparedness.
- Assemble an emergency kit in case you need to evacuate. Be sure to include any necessary prescription medications, a first aid kit and fully charged cell phone battery packs.
- Use sandbags to help prevent water from entering your home.
- Prepare your home. Move your most important and valuable items to an upper floor, if possible. Bring any outdoor furniture indoors or into the garage to prevent it from washing away.
- Consider a flood insurance policy. Remember it typically takes 30 days for a flood insurance policy to go into effect, and homeowners insurance policies don’t cover damage caused by flooding.
During a flood
- If you’re told to evacuate, do it immediately. Take care to follow established evacuation routes, but don’t go around barricades; those are in place to prevent vehicles from entering areas that are already flooded.
- If you’re weathering the storm, go to the highest possible level of your home, but never go into a closed attic. Go to the roof only as a last resort.
- Never walk, swim or drive through flooded areas. It can be difficult to determine how deep the water is and what may be underneath it. And stay off of bridges that cross over churning waters.
After a flood
- If you evacuated, return home only when authorities say it’s safe to do so. Stay off the roads until then.
- Be on the lookout for snakes, frogs, and other animals that may be in your home.
- Turn off electricity before entering your home. You could become electrocuted by touching wet electrical equipment or standing in water with submerged electrical equipment nearby.
- Take pictures of any damage to your home or property.
- Clean and disinfect anything that touched flooded waters.
- File a claim if you have a flood insurance policy. Contact your agent as soon as possible since most insurance companies have a time requirement for reporting flood damage.
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Ready.gov, “Floods,” https://www.ready.gov/floods(opens in a new tab), accessed May 18, 2020.
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