Getting hit by a full-blown flood can be a harrowing experience for any family. The people living in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina in 2005, for example, were displaced for months on end and had to survive on severely limited resources while waiting on the assistance of federal agencies. When Hurricane Sandy hit the U.S. in 2012, the entire Eastern seaboard was under a few feet of water. There was no power or transportation for days. With this in mind, it’s a good idea to install a flood sensor and have an emergency plan to help you and your loved ones stay safe during a flood. Here are a few tips to get you started:

Before the Flood

Build an Emergency Kit

A supply kit is essentially a collection of all the basic items you and your family will need in the event of an emergency. Try to prepare the kit in advance and know where it is at all times. The first item in your kit should be water. A 3-day supply should be the minimum amount you pack, one gallon a day for each person in your group. A proportionate amount of food should be your next priority. Stick to non-perishable items or food that is easy to prepare. Other useful tools and equipment are flashlights, batteries, hand-crank radios and a first aid kit. If you have access to medication, store enough for at least seven days. Miscellaneous items like sanitation and personal hygiene products, personal documents and emergency contact information can also be included in your supply kit. People who have had experience with floods also pack extra clothing, rain gear, sturdy hiking boots, insect repellent and sunscreen.

Family Communication

You might be in a situation where a flood occurs and you are not with your family. You will need a way to contact them. Create a contact card for every member of your group and keep these handy in your wallet, purse, backpacks and book bags. Include cell phone numbers and last known addresses. In addition to contact cards for your group, consider subscribing to alert services that will send you text alerts or emails about extreme weather, local emergencies and road closings. This way everyone will have access to the same information.

During a Flood Emergency

If there is a flood in your area, listen to the radio or watch the television to stay informed on the situation. Flash flooding may occur and you will want to move to higher ground immediately. If you live in an area that has streams, drainage channels or canyons, be especially cautious. These are known to flood without warning.

In the event of an evacuation, your primary concern should be your family and loved ones. Make sure they have their emergency flood kits ready. Once that is done, you can move on to securing your home. Bring in outdoor furniture and put essential items on an upper floor. Shut down all your utilities and disconnect electrical appliances. Do not attempt to touch electrical equipment if you are wet or standing in water.

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Cover photo courtesy of Wikipedia Creative Commons.