A Preppers Guide to Flooding

by Paul North

flooding public domain imageAlthough it may not be the apocalypse, flooding is a serious threat to many areas of the world. Floods can come unexpectedly and wreak havoc quickly so it is important to be as well prepared as possible for them. They can just as easily be caused by adverse weather conditions, such as the floods in the UK over the last couple of years, or unexpected accidents such as a burst dam. But how do you prepare for the unexpected?

Research your area

Whether it is somewhere you already live, and especially if it is somewhere you are potentially considering moving to, researching the potential flood conditions of an area are essential to determine how at risk you could be. In the UK you can obtain the flood history of any property from the Environment Agency for free (unless the report takes over 18 hours to put together when there is a small fee associated with it). In the US you can check if your home is near a flood plain by accessing FEMA’s Flood Map Service Centre. This is particularly useful if you are researching land to build a property on, and you can check as many different areas as you need to.

Have a plan

This may sound obvious but a lot of people who live in high flood risk areas accept this, and yet have no plan in place should the worst happen. Having a carefully considered plan can save you time and money in the event of a flood if you implement it quickly enough to alleviate any damage, or at least of the worst of it. Sandbags are often used to block doors and create a barrier against floodwater. The best time to get your sandbags is, or course, before a flood has hit so make sure you have a supply of these ready to be used. You will be able to respond quicker, resulting in less damage, if you have these at hand straight away. If you do not have any sandbags they can be made from old clothes and bed sheets, and filled with gravel or even dirt if that is all that is available.

If preventing the flood damage is not possible you should also have prepared to leave your property as quickly as you can, taking important possessions with you. This means having a bag of essentials prepared so you can leave quickly, as well as knowing where anything is that you may want to take with you on short notice and ensuring it is somewhere that can be easily reached as you leave. Remember that you may need to be away from home for days, or even week depending on how bad the damage is.

It is also important to plan and prepare for staying in your home in certain conditions. A flood may wipe out your water and electricity supply, even if the water itself doesn’t reach you. Having a well thought out stock of candles, lamps, drinking water and other supplies could make all the difference between continuing to live comfortably or having to leave your home. It is also important to have a supply of food in case you are stuck for any period of time. Tinned food is the best as it is not susceptible to flood damage like fresh food and can be kept and stored for long periods of time.

Essential items

As well as the obvious such as food and drinking water, there are several items that will make your life much easier if trapped in a flood. These include waterproof clothes, which will keep you comfortable and dry and waterproof containers for electrical items such as your mobile phones and torches. Torches are of course another essential item, as well as a small kit of medical supplies. Most homes will have a basic first aid kit but it worth keeping on top of this and making sure this is always well stocked and ready to be used. If anyone in the house takes regular medication that they cannot do without then you should also ensure there is always a good supply of this in the house.

All items, where possible, should be stored on the upper floor of the house as high as possible, in order to keep them away from any potential flood damage.

Insurance

Whilst most people tend to be sensible enough to take out insurance for their home and contents, a lot of insurance policies do not cover floods. Instead of getting caught out, take the time to research your policy and if flood damage is not covered invest in a separate flood insurance policy too. Although you may not want to spend the extra money, if a flood does affect you then you could end up spending far more if you are not covered by a suitable policy. Having insurance in place will make your life easier during what is bound to be a stressful time.

Cleanup

As well as preparing for all eventualities of a flood you should prepare for the cleanup afterwards. Cleaning after a flood can be complicated. To begin with you may need to remove any loose dirt, rocks and other debris from your home. It can be muddy where the water has been and anything touched by the mud is contaminated and should be cleaned thoroughly or disposed of if this is not possible. Anything that can be salvaged should be cleaned and dried, making sure no trace of the floodwater remains. You will need to disinfect all surfaces so a good supply of bleach for this is essential, and any rugs, carpets or soft furnishings that have been damaged will probably need to be thrown out. No electricity should be used until it has been checked by a professional, and the foundations should be thoroughly checked for cracks and signs of any long term damage that may cause problems further down the line.

This article was written by Paul North from Fireandwatersupplies.com.

Comments

  1. Babycatcher says:

    Great tips! Thank you for writing this article! Particularly here in the mountains, flat land sells at a premium. The problem is, it’s usually river bottom land, and occasionally does flood. You would be amazed at the number of people who will still build on it. I have a friend who used to live in Louisiana. It took FIVE floods before they finally had enough and moved up here. Amazing. The rest of their family still lives down there. You just never know.

  2. mom of three says:

    Where we live it floods out in the county, at least we know where it does and does not flood:) Flooding is just terrible, I really feel for those whose lives, have been touched by flooding.

  3. Chuck Findlay says:

    I had a carpet cleaning business for years (got out of it after a heart attack as moving furniture all day is hard work) and I did a lot of disaster restoration work as it paid very well.

    On flood jobs in a basement there were 2 main reasons for the water damage.

    First is mother nature and the power going off and the sump pump not having power.

    The other reason is that the float rod in the pump gets stuck ir the sump lid moves around and james it so it can’t be moved. Easy fix is to use WD-40 on it every so often and make sure the lid on the sump can’t move.

    As for the power going off during a heavy rainstorm, you should think about putting in a second sump pump that is powered by your fresh water. While the power may go off, your house almost never looses water pressure during a storm. And a water powered pump will keep working.

  4. patientmomma says:

    Good reminders; more folks should read this as their “check list”. In my experience, no insurance company will cover flood damage. You have to get a flood policy from the state / federal government. One house I owned was not in a flood zone, was at the top of a small hill and had excellent drainage. But, I had a basement with all my prepping supplies and a very expensive HVAC unit in it. When I called my insurance company to find out if my policy covered water damage in the basement from a storm,,, they said no. To qualify for coverage any damage to the basement had to come from a severe wind/hail storm which damaged the roof, which damaged the ceilings inside the house, which leaked into the basement. So if you want your house protected, you need rider policies for floods, tornado, earthquake and in some states special hurricane coverage.

    In another house I owned, same situation, but in stead of a basement it had a swimming pool behind the house. Pool was surrounded by french drains and house had a 6″ step up to get inside. I had to get a flood policy to cover water damage to the house if there was a severe storm or hurricane and the pool overflowed to the house. Needless to say when the weather forecasted a storm, we dropped the water level in the pool by 12″.

  5. I’ve never been in a bad flood. I do remember the story of the guy in a flood with the water up to his porch. A big army truck comes by and the soldiers say get in, we’ll save you. Guy replies, that’s okay, God will take care of me. Water keeps coming up and now he’s on the second floor. A boat comes by and they tell get in, we’ll save you. He replies, that’s okay, God will take care of me. The water keeps coming up and now he’s on the roof. A helicopter comes by and they lower a basket and say get in, we’ll save you. He yells up, that’s okay God will take care of me. The water keeps coming up and he drowns. He gets to heaven and sees God. He says, God you let me drown! God says, I sent a truck, I sent a boat, I sent a helicopter.

    Seriously though, if you think maybe you should leave you probably should. Most fatalities are from people who waited too long before leaving or driving through moving or high water.

    Having some kind of floating device is a good idea. Even one of those cheap Wally world inflatable boats is better than wading through chest deep water. Life jackets do not have a restriction warning that says you have to have a boat to own one of these.

    We did have minor flooding when I was a kid. I was fortunate to live couple of blocks from a lake surrounded by woods. Finding a worm was an excuse to go fishing kind of thing. We had a hurricane that caused the lake to overflow and water came out of the woods and up to the front steps of the houses closest to the woods. Every copperhead, water moccasin, black snake came out of the woods ahead of the water. The first high ground they found was the front steps of those houses. Watch for nasty critters, they don’t like floods either!

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