Homeowner’s Guide to Flooding

A flood occurs when water submerges or overflows onto land that is ordinarily dry. Thousands of floods occur each year and floods are among most common natural disaster in the United States and the world. Unfortunately, floods also tend to claim more lives than any other causes of severe weather. These climate-related disasters can occur on a very local scale impacting just a few streets or can become much larger in scope impacting multiple states. There is no action that can be taken which will prevent a flood from occurring, however, having a comprehensive understanding of flood terminology, and knowing what to do before, during, and after a flood occurs can help you limit the loss of life and damage to personal property.

Know Your Flood Terms

Floods are often regional in nature. Meaning they occur when river basins overflow, usually during the spring and winter as melting snow combines with falling rain, swelling up a river basin with more water than it can hold and causing the excess water to overflow into surrounding regions. Regional floods, however, are just one example of the various types of floods that can take place. Another type of flood that can happen is a flash flood. Flash floods can often occur with little or no warning; usually such floods transpire when an area receives a large amount of rainfall in a short time. Understanding these and other basic flood terms can be the key to understanding and taking appropriate action when a flood occurs. For instance, during a flood warning those in the affected area may be cautioned to evacuate the area.

  • Flood Safety: A brief look at terms important to staying safe when a flood does occur is provided here.
  • Flood Warning Terms And Technical Terms: What is the difference between a flash flood watch and a flash flood warning? Knowing the difference between the two can help save lives. Check out this guide for more information on flood warning terms as well as floodplain terms and technical terms.
  • Flood Control Terms: Preparing for a flood means having a clear understanding of relevant terminology, this wordlist of flood control terms offers definitions on dozens of important terms.
  • Types Of Floods: Major types of floods are covered here including flash floods, regional floods and storm surge flooding.
  • Flood Of 1952 Flood Terms: This short glossary of flood terms is related to the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area and the Flood of 1952. A timeline of the event, causes of the flood and government response to the flood are also reviewed.

What To Do Before A Flood

A flood can occur anywhere that it rains and since they can quickly develop with little advance notice, preparation should start well in advance of the flood event. As a basic step, every family should work to develop a flood plan. A flood plan gives everyone in the family a plan of action for responding to the emergency and offers steps on what can be done if members of the family become separated. Usually, such plans feature an emergency contact number of a trusted family member or friend who lives in another state and everyone in the family can be directed to call the contact number and check in if they become separated. Preparing ahead also means studying evacuation routes, keeping a list of valuables in a safe place and stockpiling an emergency kit that includes food, medicine and first aid supplies.

  • Be Ready For A Flood: Although a flood may not have much advance warning, flood preparations can start months or years in advance. These flood preparation tips include advice for educating children and preventing damage to the family home.
  • Building Dikes To Prevent Flooding: Sandbags or dikes can be used to prevent shallow flooding. This resource covers picking the ideal site for creating a dike, filling sandbags and, sealing the dike.
  • Flood Planning Tips: These quick tips cover a variety of steps that can be taken in advance of flooding including how to handle pets, driving precautions, and identifying health hazards.
  • Flood Preparedness and Response: Having a stockpile of emergency building materials and knowledge of local flood evacuation routes is vital for those who live in areas prone to flooding.
  • Flood Safety Checklist: From the Red Cross this check off list covers what steps to take when a flood occurs and what supplies to have on hand.
  • Protect Your Home And Property: To prepare for a flood take pictures of valuables within the home, keep important documents within a safety box, and learn the procedures for safely shutting off utilities.
  • Preventing Flood Damage In Your Home: Videos provided here explore various methods of preventing flood damage to an existing home including using floodwalls, raising appliances, elevating the building, and stopping sewer backup.
  • Septic Systems: Keeping a septic system maintained properly can help prevent slow toilet drainage or other problems caused by a tank that has collapsed due to heavy rains or flooding.
  • Steps To Take Before A Flood: Having flood insurance may not seem like an important step in flood preparation, but if a flood occurs it is usually the only method of recouping flood related losses. Other preparation tips are also explored in this brief guide.

What To Do During A Flood

When a flood is occurring, it is vital that those in the area affected keep updated on the latest developments. To ensure up-to-date knowledge of the situation, having a battery-powered radio, set to a local news station is generally recommended. Local residents should also follow any instructions on evacuating the area and using recommended evacuation routes if so directed. The majority of lives lost during a flood, happen when cars try to drive through moving water. To stay safe when evacuating a flooding region, drive slowly, do not drive through rapidly moving water or through water in which you cannot determine the depth. Getting to higher ground as quickly as possible is often the recommended course of action.

  • Flash Flood Driving Tips: These ten safety tips cover the basics of driving in flood water, including the fact that you should only drive through flooded areas when absolutely necessary.
  • Handling Flooding: Follow these tips when dealing with heavy rains or preparing to evacuate following a flood.
  • Remember These Tips During A Flood: When a flash flood is possible it is important to immediately move to higher ground. Other important tips to remember during a flood include not walking through moving waters and not touching electrical appliances when standing in water.
  • Steps To Take During A Flood: These tips cover a range of vital flood knowledge including how filling up bathtubs and sinks with water can provide a source of contamination free water.
  • Utility Safety: Simple instructions are used to explain how to turn off water and other utilities during a flood or other natural disaster.
  • What To Do During A Flood: Even water just a few inches deep can be dangerous when it is swiftly moving. Not walking, swimming, or wading through such water is just one tip to staying safe during a flood. Read on for additional tips for driving in flood waters and the dangers of playing in flood waters.
  • When Flooding Occurs: When a flooding emergency occurs there is only time to grab the essentials. Items such as prescription drugs, a change of clothes, eyeglasses, and personal items are among those most likely to be needed.

What To Do After A Flood

Once a flood is over the threat to human life and property is not necessarily contained. Standing water in homes is a prefect breeding ground for viruses, mold, mildew, and other contaminants to develop that can affect health; these standing waters also damage walls, furniture, and other items within the home. Listening to local news sources is important after the flood to find out when it is safe to go home, (if asked to evacuate) and to ensure that local water is safe to drink. Before reentering a home, damaged by flood waters, the building should be examined to ensure the foundation is safe. Items damaged by flood waters should be examined and cleaned or tossed if unsafe to use. For example, some submerged electrical appliances may be salvageable but the decision should only be made after having these appliances cleaned, dried, and approved for use by a professional repair person.

  • A Flood Of Emotions: This guide takes a look at how to deal with the anger, anxiety, stress, and other emotions that a flood can cause.
  • After The Flood: Basic tips are provided here on getting rid of flood odors, opening flooded windows, drying walls, and other areas of cleaning.
  • After The Flood Videos: Use these videos to review steps to take before rebuilding or restoring a flooded building.
  • Asbestos Hazards Due To Flooding: Asbestos is known to cause cancer, and can be found in a variety of materials found in homes including vinyl floor tiles, shingles, paints, and wall insulations. Asbestos containing products installed in homes and damaged during flooding should be carefully removed, repaired or enclosed to prevent damage from this hazardous material.
  • Children’s Health In The Aftermath Of Floods: Children can be more prone to the environmental hazards that occur following a flood. Mold in a home, contaminated drinking water and carbon monoxide poisoning are all issues that families should be aware of to protect their children.
  • Cleaning Flood Damaged Homes: After a flood, furniture, carpets, rugs, wooden floors, and wet insulation are among the areas of a home that may require cleanup.
  • Drinking Water After A Flood: It is possible for a drinking well to become flooded during a flood and contaminate a family’s water supply. Before drinking this water it should be disinfected and a water sample taken.
  • Food Safety After A Flood: A loss of electricity can damage food stored in refrigerators and freezers. Even foods stored in cabinets and shelves may be unsafe if it is exposed to contaminated flood waters. Check out this guide for further safety information.
  • Home Repair After A Flood: This article explains how cleaning up after a flood can be a chance to improve an existing homes energy efficiency.

© Copyright 2009 HomeownersInsurance.org All Rights Reserved