Important Preparation Tips For When You Have A Flood Warning

Imagine this—your area has just received a flood warning that says you have one hour to prepare your home and evacuate. Would you know what to do? Unless you live in a flood-prone area, you may not have any idea of what to do. Here are a few tips that can help you protect your home and belongings.

Pack a Bug-Out Bag for Several Days

The first thing to do is to pack a bag of the essential items you and your family will need for the next several days. Be sure to pack all medication in the bag. Pack identification for each person in your family, such as birth certificates, social security cards and driver's licenses. Throw in some canned goods, a manual can opener and some utensils. Put water into as many bottles and jugs as you can find and carry. Include feminine hygiene products, if necessary, but don't worry too much about clothing if you don't have any room for it.

Turn Off Main Circuit Breaker & All Utilities

Electricity and water do not mix, and neither does gas and water. Turn off your main circuit breaker so you won't have to worry about being electrocuted when you are able to return to your home. Shut off the main gas line valve, too. If, by chance, your home is already starting to flood, do not touch the circuit breaker and do not step into the water. Leave immediately and let the power and utility companies deal with it later.

Replace the Batteries In Your Back-Up Sump Pump

Hopefully, you have a battery powered sump pump to kick on now that you've turned off the circuit breaker. Replace the batteries in your back-up sump pump to be sure it works when it's needed. If you don't have a battery back-up sump pump, don't try to head out to the store to buy one now because the stores will likely be sold out of them.

Get Toxic Substances & Chemicals Up to the Top Floor

If your home gets flooded, any toxic substances and chemicals can contaminate your entire home if they get into the flooded water. The water would then be considered black water and extremely dangerous and flood damage restoration professionals will have to clean that. Items such as paint cans, cleaning chemicals, carpet stain removers, and laundry detergent should get moved to the top floor. Make sure all containers are closed as tightly as possible and consider sealing them in plastic zip-lock bags if you have them.

Move As Much As Possible to the Top Floor

If you still have a bit of time, move as many of your most important things from lower floors to the top floor as possible. Furniture, appliances, electronics and personal items can all be replaced if you have flood insurance. However, things that cannot be replaced, such as cherished memorabilia and photographs, should be moved to the top floor. Move important records and files to the top floor as well, such as your vehicle title and mortgage documents.

Clean Out Gutters & Downspouts

If you can, quickly clean out your gutters and downspouts. However, don't climb up a ladder if it is raining. The last thing you or your family needs right now is to deal with a serious injury if you fall from the ladder. At the very least, make sure the downspouts are aimed away from your house. If the downspouts are directed towards your foundation wall then the sump pump may not be able to keep up with the demand.

While you are preparing for the flood, keep your radio on so you can hear any changes on the flood warning and the time for evacuation. If the authorities tell you that you need to evacuate immediately, do so. Since you packed your bug-out bag first, you'll be able to leave at a moment's notice.