You don’t have to live in a costal city like New Orleans or New York to experience a house flood, basements, garages, kitchens, bathrooms, these are all rooms prone to flooding for one simple reason: their proximity to water. Regular sewer cleaning services and attentive pipe maintenance (especially in climates with extreme winters and summers) reduce the likelihood of an in house flood due to plumbing, but heavy rainfall can still be a factor depending on the unique location of your home.

Basically, this means that everyone should be prepared for a flood, regardless of where they live and should have a good idea of what to do before, during, and after to keep themselves and their home safe.

Before:

  • Stay alert and abreast of the weather by listening to the radio or watching the television.
  • Know your homes geologic location. Are you close to a drainage channel, river, stream, or any other location known for flash flooding? Flooding from a hurricane is predictable, flash flooding isn’t. If the radio warns of flash floods in your area, leave immediately and find higher, safer ground.
  • Determine whether evacuation is necessarily early, don’t wait to see if a storm induced flood can be waited out.
  • If evacuating, make every attempt to clean your yard, bring in loose items like patio furniture or even small vehicles if possible.
  • Move important items that you cannot bring with you to upper floors, or if you live in a ranch style home, to the top cabinets of the room.
  • Turn off power using your home’s fuse box, and turn off water using the water main valve. Unplug electronics.

During:

  • If you leave your house for any reason, do not walk in water that is moving. Avoid water more than six inches high, and use a walking stick to feel out the areas ahead of your step. Don’t drive through the flood, and abandon any vehicle that become surrounded by water.
  • If you choose to remain in your home during a flood, stay in the upper levels of your home, and ensure you are well prepared with fresh water and canned foods that will last up to one week. Make sure all necessary medications are close at hand. Consider wearing or keeping nearby water proof or resistant clothing like rubber boots. Make sure you are prepared to exit your home through a window and climb up on the roof incase it becomes necessary to do so.

After:

  • Be aware of warnings and alerts via radio and television.
  • Seek the aid of emergency workers if necessary. Do not ignore barricades for roads, bridges, or tunnels. Avoid barricaded roads. Stay on solid ground. Avoid flooded areas when possible, but if not possible be aware of potential erosion, dangerous objects hidden by the water, and drowned animals.
  • Keep in mind your health: flood water can contain raw sewage, gasoline, oil, and many other dangerous chemicals and compounds.
  • Get any dangerous or damaged sewer systems fixed immediately.
  • Do not drink the water before it’s been verified to be safe, even with boiling certain unsafe elements can remain in the water.
  • Disinfect anything the flood water touched.
  • Don’t turn electricity on as soon as the flood ebbs. It’s important to ensure the house is dry beforehand.
  • Call your insurance agent sooner than later.
  • Hire a company with flood experience if you need help cleaning your house.

Don’t forget, the Red Cross offers many resources for storm flood victims, including a pamphlet that will prepare you for everything you’ll need to know to be safe post-flood.