A flood emergency is a nightmare scenario for homeowners. Flood waters are extremely dangerous to homes, pose significant risks to personal safety, and are difficult to navigate and escape. These risks combine to place strain on people who might be unsure about the best ways to prep for a flood emergency. The experts at BCFS Health and Human Services, a recognized leader in emergency management, provide some guidance for people to help them better understand the risks of floods and to adopt proven strategies to survive.
Creating emergency “go bags” for the entire family is a first step for flood preparedness. These bags should include more than the standard first aid kit and emergency blankets. For floods, BCFS Health and Human Services recommends a complete array of emergency items including flashlights, waterproof matches, external batteries, snacks, water, clothing such as waterproof boots and waders, whistles, and a variety of other items. These kits should be checked and refined every six months, so homeowners can remove any expired items and add or subtract supplies as needed. BCFS Health and Human Services also recommends residents identify any priceless items in their home that are easily transported in a flood emergency. This could include baby pictures and vital documents, photos, hard drives, and other items that won’t weigh down an evacuation but are irreplaceable.
While they are developing an emergency kit bag and strategy, homeowners should also learn more about the potential flood risks for their area. Various regional and federal government sites offer flood zone maps which can be used to determine specific area risks. To monitor flood conditions, homeowners can utilize a NOAA online radio station as well as weather apps on their phones. Early warning about flood conditions can provide residents with an opportunity to reach higher ground safely, instead of trying to ride out a dangerous flood within their home.
A core step for flood planning for parents is to talk to their kids about the risks and what actions the family will take in an emergency. This age-adjusted discussion should include talks about the dangers of floodwaters, and why the family might need to leave the home quickly. Parents should be honest with their kids about the dangers while remaining positive about the benefits of preparedness. A recommended step is to explore the contents of the emergency bags with kids so they understand its contents and can identify items under stress. This is especially important for older kids who will need to assist their parents by helping to watch younger siblings and perform other essential tasks that are necessary to keep everyone together and safe.