September is National Preparedness Month and Americans are encouraged to be prepared for natural disasters or emergencies such as flood, wildfire, hurricane, and power outage. This effort is led by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and together with other government agencies. The National Preparedness Month is the perfect time to remind everyone in your family and in the United States that the number one natural disaster is neither fire nor earthquake, but a flood, and it can happen anywhere, at any time.
ServiceMaster by Wright, the pioneer and trusted catastrophic home or business damage restoration company, providing 40 years of quality service to residents of Sarasota, Florida and surrounding areas, shares and discusses this article about unique flood prevention tips in preparation for National Preparedness Month.
How should I Prepare for a Flood?
Floods can occur in different ways. Some develop slowly during an extended period of rain, or in a warming trend following heavy snow. Others, like flash floods, can happen very quickly, without any visible signs of rain. Because of this unpredictability, it’s important to know what to do in order to prepare your home for a flood.
Tip No. 1: Research Your Flood Risk
Research in advance about whether your area is susceptible to flooding. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) maintains online flood maps to show the locations and risk levels in specific geographic areas. Moreover, gather more information by asking your neighbors how the flood was the last time it hit your area. Check if they have pictures or any form of information about the flood’s onslaught to give you more prevention tips in advance.
Tip No. 2: Make a Flood Plan for Family
Have a plan B, if plan A fails. Establish the emergency actions that need to occur in such a situation, and assign tasks to each individual family member responsible. Train your family members as to what to do during flooding, the meeting place, how to survive high waters, and what to do in the event of an evacuation.
Tip No. 3: Get Flood Insurance
This is a requirement for flood-prone area homeowners, which is available to homeowners through the National Flood Insurance Program, or you can visit the website of Floodsmart.gov to get an estimate of the pricing for flood insurance for your geographic location/address. Remember regular homeowner’s insurance does not cover flood damage costs.
Tip No. 4: Construct Barriers
Build water-resistant barriers, self-sealing air bricks and flood-resistant doors, windows and garages around your property that can help stop floodwaters from entering. These resilient barriers are designed to withstand impact by water and debris while simultaneously creating a water-resistant seal on the exterior of your home.
Tip No. 5: Re-Setup the House Electrical Systems
This may sound expensive, but as a rule of thumb, all parts of the house’s electrical sockets, switches, and wiring including basements should be elevated at least 12 inches above predicted flood levels.
Tip No. 6: Pre-Arrange the Furniture and Appliances for Flood
Setting up the arrangement of your furniture and appliances to be flood-ready would protect them from damage. By the time the flood occurs, the appliances and furniture would be totally safe and you still have time for other important things to do.
Tip No. 7: Last Minute Preparations
Closely monitor the NOAA radio for latest flood updates. Be sure to turn off your power and prepare a kit full of emergency supplies just in case. Follow the instructions of local authorities if there a need to evacuate.
What To Do During a Flood
What if you’re dealing with a major flood or it is likely to happen in your area? Here’s what you should do:
Tip No. 1: Move to Higher Ground Immediately
Tip No. 2: Avoid Floodwaters
Do not drink flood water or use it to wash dishes, brush teeth, or wash/prepare food. Drink clean, safe water. Standing floodwater can also spread infectious diseases, bring chemical hazards, and cause injuries.
Tip No. 3: Evacuate if Necessary (As per Officials' Instructions)
In some instances, you may have a day or two to prepare for evacuation, while other situations might call for immediate evacuation. Just be ready with everything to ensure that you can evacuate quickly and safely, no matter what the circumstances.
How to Recover From a Flood
If you are fortunate enough to dealing with minor flooding, then you probably don’t have to leave your home. However, if it was major flooding that you have evacuated from and you are shaken to discover the level of damage to your home, there are certain steps that can be taken. What is important is getting things back to normal as quickly as possible.
Tip No. 1: Ensure Your Safety First
After a major flood, first wait for the ‘all clear’ signal from emergency services before going into an affected area. Before entering your property, ask authorities if it is safe to do so. After doing so, try to cope with the damage, clean-up, and recovery.
Tip No. 2: Contact Your Family
Stay connected with your family, friends, and relatives about their status and yours. Send text messages rather than calling them; this can be faster than a phone call.
Tip No. 3: Stay Updated
Even though the rain may stop, continue listening to the news while staying alert always for extended rainfalls and flooding. Continue updating with National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) until the typhoon is confirmed clear.
Tip No. 4: Enter With Caution
Before entering your home, check for structural damage, hazards such as cracks in the foundation, gas leaks, broken power lines, leaking chemicals and wildlife (snake, spiders, and other animals).
Tip No. 5: Keep Things Dry
Tip No. 6: Remove Standing Water
Gradually pump out any standing water or scoop up water with a bucket, while wearing the right protective gear to prevent exposure to floodwaters. This is best done by a professional.
Tip No. 7: Keep in Touch Early with Insurance
If you still have time while floodwater starts pouring into your home, you should contact your insurance company immediately and let them know your home has been flooded. Take pictures of the flood-related damage to your home, as this will provide evidence in the event of an insurance claim.
Tip No. 8: Talk To Your Neighbors
Advise family members to talk about their experience with friends and neighbors. Sharing is part of the healing process; even the most resilient person may begin to feel stressed, insecure, and maybe even a little frightened. It is essential that those affected by a disaster address their emotional needs.
Tip No. 9: Document the Damage
Always take pictures of the damage, both of the building and its contents, for personal, insurance, and recording purposes. If you have the equipment, better record a video for better quality.
If you are living within Sarasota, Florida’s flood-zone area, better make an early reservation with ServiceMaster Restore by Wright at 239-431-9947
; you can inquire about water damage restoration in Sarasota, water damage removal in Sarasota, storm damage repair in Sarasota, and flood damage repair in Sarasota. Storm and water damage emergency can be traumatic, we understand that. Our goal is to get your life back to normal as quickly as possible.
We are also serving businesses and homeowners all throughout Bonita Springs, Bradenton, Cape Coral, Englewood, Fort Myers, Longboat Key, Naples, Marco Island, Siesta Key, and Venice, FL. For other details, please visit our website at https://www.servicemasterrestorations.com/.