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Emergency Preparedness: Basic Tips for Flood Survival

The chances of everyone making it through a flood OK are infinitely increased when a good emergency plan is followed properly.

Floods are often extremely destructive. An awesome demonstration of Mother Nature’s power, there really is not much you can do to stop them. They can be caused by excessive amounts of rain, tsunamis, tidal waves, rapid snow melt … you name it.  But, the only real way to be ready for a flood is to review various lists of flood survival tips, and then use them to create your own emergency flood survival plan. Here are a few basic suggestions to get you started:

1.  Have an Emergency Evac Plan in Place.  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.  Create a laminated list of important phone numbers and keep it handy, just in case your personal phones are wet and unusable.  Review this emergency plan with your family a few times a year to make it second nature during an emergency.

2.  Maintain a Waterproof Bag for Flood Emergencies.  Reduce the panic; keep the following survival supplies together inside of a waterproof bag:

  • Candles, lighter, waterproof matches, and a flashlight with newer and replacement batteries
  • Bottled water and non-perishable food items (like freeze dried foods and nuts)
  • Spare clothing and shoes
  • Soap, antiseptic, plastic gloves, face masks, sanitizer, and a medical kit with suitable emergency supplies
  • Your laminated list of emergency numbers (this includes national and city emergency phone numbers, as well as the numbers of friends and family outside of the immediate area)
  • Insect repellent, Benadryl, a mosquito net, and toiletries
  • Important documents like passports, birth certificates, medical prescriptions and information, insurance cards and banking details (these should already be together and ready to grab for your waterproof bag)
  • “Magic Supplies” – all the things you need to make magic happen with in an emergency, like masking tape, duct tape, scissors, safety pins, paper clips, rope, twine, pens, mobile phones and extra chargers, toys, and waterproof bags.

3.  Always Keep an Eye on the Elderly and Children.  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.

4.  Safety First!  Don’t forget some of the cardinal rules for floods.  They all include staying out of the water:

  • Never try to wade through flowing water.  Moving water less than a foot deep can sweep you off your feet and trap you in deeper, even more dangerous waters.
  • Remember what’s potentially in the water.  Another reason not to wade into flood waters is because of the poisonous creatures 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.

5.  Sandbag… Before the Flood.  Oftentimes, flood warnings are issued well in advance of them actually occurring. Secure your home by setting up sandbag walls to divert the water around your home. When building your sandbag walls, make sure the bags are sturdy and that they aren’t too full (a bit of slack is needed to allow each bag to overlap, No overlapping, no interlocking or sealing).  Consider setting up a plastic sheet on the floodwater side to prevent seeping as well.

Sandbags + Plastic = Effective, Waterproof Barrier

The chances of everyone making it through a flood OK are infinitely increased when a good emergency plan is followed properly.  Each family’s situation is unique, so create your own list of flood survival tips tailored to your family’s needs. Go over them together frequently so you, collectively, will be ready for any flooding situation.

This article was originally published at Ready Nutrition™ on June 24th, 2014

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