Rock Talk

How to Prepare for Potential Rainstorm Flooding

Last updated on November 15, 2019 at 09:36 am

Nor’easters and heavy rainstorms are common in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast regions. With all that potential to be inundated with water, it’s important to be prepared for and understand what could happen and how to prevent it. Here’s how to prepare for potential flooding from rain.

Pro tip: Check out FEMA’s flood hazard maps to find out exactly if your community is at risk for potential flooding from rain or other factors.

Spring into action: Steps to take before a flood

1. If you live in a high-risk area, prepare an emergency kit so you’re ready to go in the event of a flood. Items should at least include:

  • Bottled water
  • Non-perishable food
  • First aid kit
  • Flashlight with extra batteries
  • Essential medicines
  • Extra cash
  • Family and emergency contact information
  • Change of clothes
  • Important insurance and financial documents

For a full list of recommended items, visit The American Red Cross.

2. If you live in a high flood-risk area, consider having a professional evaluate your home’s furnace, water heater and electrical panel and determine if any modifications need to be made to decrease the chances of water damage.

3. Secure your basement as it’s the most vulnerable space when it comes to floods. Begin with checking and sealing any cracks in the foundation to prevent leaks. A professional company will be able to help you be properly proactive. Check out these comprehensive instructions on readying your basement.

4. Your car is a valuable asset that you might need if evacuations are ordered or advised. Park it in a secure spot away from trees and potential flooding. Make sure to fuel up before a storm hits. If your area is prone to flooding, move your car to higher ground and avoid parking in any low-lying areas.

Stay alert: What to do during a flood

Stay tuned to local broadcast stations (tv and/or radio) for updates on flooding in your area. If you need to evacuate, remember:

  • Shut off all utilities including gas, water and electricity, remember to unplug appliances.
  • Do not walk through moving water. Water as little as 6 inches deep is enough to knock you over.
  • Do not drive in flooded areas. If you need to, abandon your car and seek higher ground immediately.
  • Be aware of evacuation shelters in your area.

Remain vigilant: What to do after a flood

  • Only return home when authorities have deemed it safe to do so.
  • Before entering, check for downed power lines, damaged gas lines, foundation cracks or other damage.
  • If you smell gas or suspect a leak, turn off the main gas valve, open all windows and leave the house immediately. Call the fire department.
  • Turn off the electricity at the main breaker or fuse box and avoid downed wiring. The smallest electrical spark could be dangerous.
  • Throw away any food and properly dispose of cleaning products, batteries, paint and other chemical-based products that could’ve been damaged by the flood waters. Make sure to wear protective gear (gloves, mask, rubber boots, etc.) when cleaning up.
  • Contact your insurance carrier right away if you need to file a claim.
  • Download this free e-book from the American Red Cross that covers everything from returning home safely, protecting your belongings, filing insurance claims and checking for gas/water leaks.

It’s also extremely important to note that most homeowners insurance policies across the industry do not cover flood damage. You may need to purchase flood insurance separately. When it comes to your car, flood damage is typically covered by comprehensive coverage. You should review both your home and auto policies well in advance of potential flooding to make sure you’re covered.

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