Many people hear flood and automatically tense up, but floods are not something to be feared, they are something to be aware of and prepared for, and it is a small price to pay for getting to live in a stunning waterfront home. When you are properly prepared, and aware of all of the elements involved, you will be ready if your home does flood. Floods can occur for a number of different reasons including heavy continuous rainfall, hurricanes, over-topped levees, rapid rise of a body of water such as a river or lake near the home, and outdated or clogged drainage systems. It is important that we first look at ways of preventing flooding whenever possible so that we can eliminate any preventable damage to your home or loved ones. Once that is taken care of the next step would be to make sure that you are prepared in the event that your home does flood and to have a plan of action so that you and your family will know what to do thus limiting the panic and keeping everyone safe and damage to your home and belongings to a minimum. The last step is to make sure that you know what to do after a flood to clean up and restore your home to its former glory. How often you will be threatened by the chance of flooding will depend on where you live and how close you are to a flood zone, however with the right prevention and preparation it does NOT have to be a deal breaker if you are looking at investing in waterfront property.

Keep WaterOut!

Flood Prevention

There are a few things that you can do to protect your home from flooding BEFORE it floods to minimize and in some cases prevent damage to your home and personal belongings.

If your home is on sewer make sure that you install backflow valves or standpipes to prevent sewer lines from backing up and make sure that all street drains and gutters are clear of all dirt and debris so that the water is directed away from your home and the streets do not flood due to clogged drains. Another good thing to do is to make sure that you elevate as many items as possible; move personal belongings upstairs, to the attic, or onto tables and shelves so that they will not be damaged if water gets inside your home. Use stacked pallets to elevate your washer, dryer, water heater, oil tank, refrigerator, stove, and any other major appliances. Try to do your landscaping in plants and vegetation that can help with the water runoff in the event of heavy rainfall by planting in narrow strips that direct the water away from your home. Check with FEMA and find out if your home is in a flood zone, if it has ever flooded before, and if it was raised due to a flood. If your home has been raised you should obtain a copy of the Elevation Certificate and keep it in a safe place.

Flood Preparation

Make sure you are adequately prepared for a flood before it hits to minimize your discomfort and make sure you and your family are safe. Begin by making sure that you have stored clean water in jugs throughout your home so that if the water gets contaminated or turned off you will still have drinking water. Also if you live in a rural location and you have a well, there is a good chance that the electricity will go out during a flood and there will be nothing to power your pump. Make sure you have dry sandbags that you can place near the entrances of your home so that the water doesn't seep through space under the door. Make sure you have flashlights and candles so if the electricity goes out, you will still be able to see. If you have a propane tank that is above ground make sure it is anchored; if your propane tank is underground, be sure to make sure that it has been recently filled to avoid it coming up through the soil during the flood. Close the valves on your propane tank as the water begins to rise so they don't become fire hazards if they are ripped off the foundation and pipes break off. Check local flood zoning and evacuation plans. If you are in a location where the flood may hit hard, then you want to make sure that you have an escape plan that is safe and easy to follow to avoid getting trapped. Pack a bag with essentials and keep it in an easy to grab place that is above any water level so that you can take it with you in a hurry. Use the checklist at the end of this article to make sure you have everything you may need.

I Think We Waited

Waiting Out The Rain

If it is safe to remain in your home and wait out the flood then there are some steps that you will want to take to make sure that everything is secure. As the water begins to pool and rise you will need to turn off the utilities at the main power switch to avoid electrical shock. Move all valuable items, important papers, and keepsakes up high to avoid damage. Sanitize your bathtub and sinks and fill them with fresh, clean water in case you are cut off from your water source. Make ready candles and flashlights and make sure you have books, board games, cards, or something else that you can do by candlelight to keep you entertained and to keep your mind from coming up with worse case scenarios. Fear is the worst part of a flood...if you remain calm then the flood will not seem so bad.

Preparing To Move To Higher Ground

If the water has begun to rise at a rate that begins to threaten your safety it is time to put your escape plan into action. Take your carryout bag or box and head to higher ground. If the water is more than 6 inches deep do not attempt to drive, just 6 inches can cause a loss of control of your vehicle. Beware of people who have panicked and are driving too fast in order to get out. Make sure that your route is clear and drive slowly to avoid an accident. If you are walking stay clear of downed power lines and beware of falling tree branches. Locate your nearest emergency shelter or contact a friend or family member and let them know that you are on your way and get yourself and your family to safety.


Rejoicing Man

Going Home

When you return home after a flood, make sure that you check the outside of the home for structural damage before going inside and if it is dark use a flashlight instead of a candle, matches, or lighter in case there is a gas leak. If you know that your water source was contaminated, make sure you check with the local water company to see if there is any report on whether it is safe to drink again. You will need to contact your flood insurance company and file any claims to an insurance agent as soon as possible. Take pictures of the damage to submit to the insurance company. Separate all of the damaged and undamaged items in your home and make sure to disinfect anything that got wet to prevent mold in your home. Remember that you have made it through this flood intact...your family is safe and everything is going to be okay and know that if another flood threatens your area, you will know just how to handle it. Give yourself your due credit for the courage and tranquility you have maintained throughout the flood that allowed you to get through it safely with as little damage as possible!

Carry Out Bag Or Box Checklist

  • Laptop and Power CordSurvival Pack
  • Cell Phone
  • Photo Albums
  • Wallet/Purse
  • Glasses
  • Prescription drugs
  • Flashlight
  • Toiletries
  • Pillow
  • Blankets
  • Clean Clothes (Both Warm And Water Resistant)
  • Non-Perishable Food
  • Bottled Water
  • Pet Food, Leash, Pet Medication, Small Bowl For Water
  • Important Documents (Shot records, Birth Certificate, Insurance Paperwork, Etc.)
  • First Aid Kit
  • Towels
  • Baby Food, Diapers, Clean Bottles, Formula, Clean Clothes, Baby Wipes, Pacifiers, favorite Toy, Snacks, Water, Coloring Book/Crayons, Security Blanket.