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Flood Safety Preparation Guide

With cloudy days and scattered showers, it can be easy to forget how fast a flood can strike. Even a home that’s on an uphill slope can suffer from flood conditions if water starts pooling just right against the foundation. When cracks form, a heavy rain can overburden the sump pump in your home or simply begin leaking into the floors of your home. Before you know it, you’re staring at soggy carpet and damaged boxes and the first you knew of it was when you set foot into a room and landed in ice-cold water. Flooding is dangerous at any stage and it’s best to be prepared for all eventualities regardless of whether the flooding is due to a storm raging outside or a pipe that’s burst in your wall.

Pre-Flood Preparation

It’s always better to be safe. Preparing for the worst will keep you and your family safe in the event of an emergency. There are plenty of guides and helpful tools for putting together an emergency plan to deal with all kinds of storms and disasters but a core element is to build and prepare a basic disaster supply kit. recommends:

  • Water, one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation
  • Food, at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food
  • Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • First aid kit
  • Whistle to signal for help
  • Dust mask to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place
  • Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
  • Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
  • Manual can opener for food
  • Local maps
  • Cell phone with chargers, inverter or solar charger

You can use’s emergency supply checklist to prepare yourself or reference the Red Cross’ Emergency supply list to build your emergency kit.

You also want to make sure your home is prepared to handle stormy conditions before a severe storm hits. Having your basement waterproofed and your foundation sealed against water intrusion is important but you should also:

  • Clean gutters and downspouts
  • Make sure that water is draining away from your home
  • Repair any roof damage
  • Keep storms doors in good repair
  • Make sure that flower beds and hedges are not damming water against your home

A sump pump installed in a basement of a home with a water powered backup system.

This will prevent water from entering your home in the first place. But you’ll need to make sure you have defenses in case the worst happens. Make sure that your sump pump, if you have one, is tested and maintained. The easiest way to test your pump is to fill up a 5 gallon bucket of water and pour it into the sump pump’s well. Have someone watching the outflow pipe to make sure that the water is pumped away from your home as the pump drains the well. If it isn’t working, call a plumber immediately to have the pump repaired or replaced.

How to Treat a Flooded Room

First, do not enter the room! A flooded room can be extremely hazardous, especially if it’s flooding due to a ruptured grey or blackwater line which can spread disease.

  • Turn off electricity to the room
  • Turn off water to your home at the main shut off valve
  • Use a wet/dry vac to pump water out of the room and away from your home
  • Call a professional drying service to begin drying out the affected rooms and restoring your home
  • Call a plumber to fix and replace any pipes that have been damaged before restoring water flow
  • Consult an electrician before restoring power to make sure there is not lasting damage to existing wiring that could cause problems in the future

Remember: flooding is no joke. What feels like a minor problem can lead to permanent home damage, possible mold growth, or immediate sickness and electrocution if proper procedures are not follow to ensure safety.