How to prepare for a flood

While floods can bring relief to lands experiencing severe droughts, they are far more damaging than beneficial. They can destroy belongings, damage properties, and to some extent, harm people. This guide will discuss how to prepare for a flood and lessen its adverse impact on your life.

How to prepare yourself for a flood

If you live in an area close to rivers, streams, dams, and other bodies of water, here are some some recommended safety measures. 

Know your risk

a man using a smartphoneOne of the things you can do to devise a well-thought-out plan is to ask questions about the flooding history in your area. Talk to your local council and ask how high floods can get during rainy seasons, how they can damage your properties and belongings, and how to look for the natural signs of flooding. The more relevant information you can get, the better you can prepare yourself for a flood. 

Know where to go

a map with emergency routesYou might be required to evacuate to a much safer place when floodwater starts to enter the premise of your home. To avoid unnecessary confusion during the disaster, find the easiest route you can take to get to the nearest evacuation centre in your area. You can also ask your friends and relatives if you can take shelter with them until the flood starts to recede. 

Know what to prepare

a first aid kitIt might sound like a no-brainer to some, but preparing a first aid kid before a weather disaster can make a huge difference in your safety. Stock up on medicines, food, clothes, water, battery-powered radios, and flashlights, to name a few. Save local emergency numbers on your phone, too, so you can call the proper authorities during the disaster.

Know what to save

several file folders on a shelfOnce you know the flood-risk level of your area, get a folder for all your contracts and essential documents. Then, create a list of your valuables and store it in a watertight container. This written inventory will help you determine which household items are worth saving if you decide to evacuate. It will also come in handy when filing insurance claims since you won't have to waste time thinking of what you lost. 

How to prepare your home for a flood

Because nature can be unpredictable at times, it pays to understand how to properly prepare your home for a flood and keep yourself and your family safe during the disaster. Here's a flood preparation checklist for your home:

Step 1: Invest in roof maintenance

a man repairing a roofOften, people neglect the importance of roof maintenance when preparing their homes for a flood. Repairing your roof once in a while can reduce water infiltration, which can otherwise ruin your possessions, cause mould, and damage your home. Waterproofing your roof is also a smart way to keep your home dry from top to bottom during the monsoon season. Here's how you can do that:

  1. Wear a safety harness and use a stable ladder to access your roof. Then, remove all the dust, fallen leaves, or debris.
  2. Apply waterproofing coatings, such as polymer-modified bitumen, thermoplastic, and polyurethane membranes. Be sure to follow the manufacturers’ technical specifications.
  3. Recheck your work. Waterproofing can be complicated, especially when you need to do it fast. So for quality assurance, it's best to consult a roofing or waterproofing expert.

Step 2: Waterproof your home

a man waterproofing a floorHeavy flooding and excess rainwater can weaken the integrity of your home over time. This can lead to severe structural damage, which is hard and expensive to repair. To keep your property safe from floodwaters, consider hiring a professional to waterproof your home. In the meantime, follow these steps:

Check your home's interiors

Floods can damage your house even if the water is below two feet. Install a waterproof veneer using bricks with a waterproof coating to protect your residence from shallow floodwater. Moreover, make sure that you can firmly close and lock your windows and doors. Even tiny gaps will let floodwater in.

Check your fuel tanks

Floodwater can quickly uproot unanchored fuel tanks, causing severe problems. One preventive measure is to place it beside a big concrete slab hefty enough to deflect floodwater. This might be a tedious task, so it's best to ask someone to help you.

Check your basement

Visit your basement and search for signs of leaks, such as excessive moisture, musty odours, cracked floors, and discoloured walls. Next, check the condition of your sump pump. You might need to buy a battery-operated backup pump, which you can use even during a power outage. It's also good to get a water alarm to alert you when your basement becomes flooded.

Step 3: Build a floodwall

a floodwall made of sandbagsBuilding a floodwall around your home is one of the simplest ways to protect your home from floodwater. These barriers can prevent water from entering your home, thus reducing the chance of structural damage. If you're unsure how to build a flood wall around your house, set an appointment with a professional handyman near you. While waiting for help to come, you can also follow these steps:

  1. Prepare all the necessary tools, like shovels, sandbags, gloves, and wheelbarrows. You also need fine-grain soil. Sand or clay are better options for large floodwalls. Avoid gravel because water can still pass through it.
  2. Your property's terrain or topography determines the route of your floodwall. Leave enough space between your home and the floodwall, regardless of its size.
  3. Make a trench. Dig a one- or two-foot canal near your residence. Then, fill it with impenetrable materials to create the floodwall foundation.
  4. Start piling soil or sand onto the outline of your floodwall, making sure that everything is compact. Use your hands or feet if you don't own heavy machinery or earthmoving equipment.

What to do when your house floods

a flooded houseLet's say things take a turn for the worse and your home starts getting flooded. Here are some things you can do to keep you and your family safe:

  • Call for help. Natural disasters don't give you enough time to save everything in your home. If the floodwater is becoming deep too fast, quickly gather your essentials and evacuate to a nearby shelter.
  • If you decide to stay in your home during the disaster, turn off the electricity through your circuit breaker. Call an electrician if you're unfamiliar with all the mechanisms.
  • Seek places with high elevation. Also, bring your heaters or air conditioners to the upper storeys of your home if you want to avoid spending on costly replacements.
  • Record the event and share the video with your loved ones before telecommunication services become unavailable. Knowing each other's status and location results in peace of mind during the disaster.
  • Prepare for the cleanup process. When the water subsides, expect much dirt, mould, and other contaminants. It's also good to seal your photographs, documents, and other valuables to protect them from water damage.

Keeping your home flood-proof

Overall, as the country experiences inclement weather, keeping your home safe from flooding is wise. Aside from investing in a home insurance policy, you can perform simple tasks, such as waterproofing and roof upkeep, to protect your residence for the years to come. And whenever you feel unsure, don't hesitate to seek professional help.

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