Flooding is one of the most common and costly disasters in the United States. According to the National Weather Service, floods cause more deaths annually than any other weather-related hazard. They are also the most frequent natural disaster in the country.
While flash flooding gets most of the attention, flooding can also occur slowly over time. This is often called “evaporative demand” and happens when more water vapor is in the air than the atmosphere can hold. When this happens, water vapor condenses and falls to the ground as precipitation.
Flooding can have a devastating impact on communities. In addition to causing loss of life, flooding can damage homes and businesses, destroy infrastructure, and contaminate drinking water supplies. It can also disrupt transportation, communications, and power systems. Flooding is a danger to both people and property, which is why it’s so important to be prepared before a flood occurs.
Dangers Of Flooding
Flooding can occur quickly and without warning . However, it can also happen slowly over time. In either case, flooding can cause severe damage to homes and businesses, destroy infrastructure, contaminate drinking water supplies, and disrupt transportation, communications, and power systems. Flooding is a danger to both people and property, which is why it’s so important to be prepared before a flood occurs.
Some of the dangers associated with flooding include:
- Flash floods are the most dangerous because they can happen quickly and with little warning. Flash floods can rise several feet in just a few minutes.
- Floodwaters can be contaminated with chemical pollutants, oil, sewage, or other hazardous materials that can make people sick or even kill them.
- People who try to drive through flooded areas may get stranded if their vehicles become trapped in rising waters. Likewise, people who try to walk through floodwaters may be swept away by the currents.
- Floodwaters often carry debris such as branches, trees, fencing material, or other objects that can cause injury or damage property.
- Flooding can damage crops, livestock, and equipment on farms. In addition, it can contaminate food supplies with chemical pollutants or bacteria from sewage contamination.
What You Can Do To Prepare For A Flood
There are several things you can do to prepare for a flood:
Know Your Risk
The first step will always be to understand the risk of flooding in your area. You can know your community’s chance for a flood in various ways. The first option is to consult with your local government’s emergency management agency. You can also check for information online through the National Weather Service or FEMA’s flood map service center.
Develop An Emergency Plan
It’s essential to have an emergency plan in place before a flood occurs. This plan should include evacuation routes, emergency contacts, and where to gather after evacuating. Your goal should also designate a family meeting spot outside your home if you cannot return to it after a flood.
Build an Evacuation Center
Once you have developed an emergency plan, it’s time to build an evacuation center. Here are the essentials of a robust evacuation center:
The location of your evacuation center is crucial to its ability to keep people safe. You should seek high ground for your evacuation center and a place that is not prone to flooding. Some locations that aren’t easily flooded include high-rise buildings, hills, and higher floors.
Your evacuation center should have enough supplies to sustain those seeking shelter for at least 72 hours. These supplies should include non-perishable food, water, first aid supplies, and emergency communication devices.
Your evacuation needs to be secure. One way to secure it is through robust winches and hoists . These items can ensure the building and protect it from floodwaters. It can also protect the center from high winds and heavy rain. You’ll also need sandbags, plastic sheeting, and waterproof containers.
Your evacuation center should be easily accessible to those seeking shelter. This means the location should have clear signage and accessible entry points for people with disabilities or mobility limitations.
Build An Emergency Kit
A flood emergency kit should include non-perishable food, water, first aid supplies, flashlights, batteries, and any necessary medication. It’s essential to make sure that your emergency kit is easily accessible in case you need to evacuate. In addition to your emergency kit, it’s vital to have a flood kit ready in case you need to evacuate quickly. Your flood kit should include non-perishable food and water, essential documents such as insurance policies, extra clothing and blankets, and any necessary medications.
Flooding is a dangerous and potentially deadly event. By understanding your risk, you can better prepare for a flood. Always follow evacuation orders from local officials and remind community members never to attempt to drive or walk through floodwaters. Stay safe during a flood by being prepared ahead of time.