by Sara Tipton, Ready Nutrition:
In a previous article, we wrote about homes in a U.S. that happen to fall in disaster zones. Now, it seems, with the recent flash floods on the East coast, many families are finding themselves in a flooded disaster zone.
Thunderstorms have extended the flash flood warnings on the East coast in recent days. Heavy floodwaters have engulfed parts of New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, washing out roadways, submerging vehicles and forcing water rescues. Would you be prepared for a flood? If not, don’t worry. We have a few tricks that can help you map out a survival plan for a flood emergency.
Back East, sheds and cars were tossed across neighborhoods and entire homes were destroyed as record amounts of rain fell across the region. Entire campers have been seen floating away in the flood waters, according to a report by CBS News. In this case, evacuation quickly would be anyone’s best bet. That means you’ll need a bug-out bag. The good news is that if you are lacking on time and have no clue where you would even need to begin to prepare your own bug out bag, there are several that come highly rated at all price points on Amazon. Remember to take into account the size of your family when planning, however, or you may be more uncomfortable than necessary.
Something else to consider would be a bug out bag for each vehicle. This may not be in your budget just yet but think about saving up for it if you must. You should tailor each bag to the vehicle itself and take into account the size of your family just in case your vehicle is the only one that “survives.” Having a bug out bag in every vehicle is the choice that was made by myself and my family because our home is in a very rural location. Although flooding is rare at our altitude, a wildfire could certainly whip through in a few minutes taking out everything, and if you leave your bug out bag at home, you’ll be out of luck in the event your home is completely destroyed. A quick survival bag in all of the cars of those who can drive can ensure at least some gear will make it to a predetermined rendezvous point especially if the flash flood happens when no one is at home.
In addition to your bag, packed with survival gear ready to go, should be a family plan. Flooding can happen very quickly and with little or no warning, so in the event that this should happen, all family members need to be aware of the plan and understand the importance of following it.
Just as with a fire, earthquake, or any other natural disaster, you need to have a plan for exiting your home safely, a location identified as a meeting place for your children and other family members, and a family member or friend designated as the central point of communication. Children in the family should understand all of this, so it may be necessary to repeat it many times. Both the elderly and children tend to be less able to take the lead, which means they have a greater chance of falling behind and being exposed to the hazards caused by a flood. Keep kids and older people out of the water and dry!
The rule of keeping children and the elderly out of water really applies to everyone and should be the cardinal rule of flood survival. Here are a few reasons to avoid flood waters.
- Never try to wade through flowing water. Moving water less than a foot deep can sweep you off your feet and trap you in even deeper and more dangerous waters.
- Another reason not to wade into floodwaters is that of the poisonous creatures, such as snakes or debris that could be floating around in it.
- Remember that fallen power lines may have exposed the water to electricity; stay on alert, avoid electrocution.
- The water may have become contaminated with sewage or chemicals that can cause both disease and illness. Bacterial infections can kill or eat away entire limbs if antibiotics are not readily available.
Another pre-flood preparation you may consider is the creation of a laminated list (so it won’t get destroyed if it gets wet) of important phone numbers and keep it handy, just in case. Consider tossing this list in each bug out bag if you decide to keep more than one on hand. Review any emergency plan with your family a few times a year to make it second nature during an emergency.
Of course, preventative measures can be taken, such as avoid building a home in a flood zone, or ensuring you elevate the home if you feel you must build it there. Avoid buying a home in a floodplain too. Not only will insurance be expensive, but the chances of flooding means a higher probability of a good amount of your possessions being destroyed.