How To Survive: What to Do During a Flood

3D illustration of living room flooded with water

Spring is coming, and the United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is set to release its spring flood outlook soon. Last year, this report forecast that about two-thirds of the country would experience severe flooding.

The truth is, a large swath of America is susceptible to flooding. Rising sea levels endanger coastal areas, especially large coastal cities like Miami and Boston that lack the vegetation to soak up excess water. 

If you live in the plains or a coastal area, it's best to be prepared. To find out what to do during a flood emergency, check out the guide below.

What to Do During a Flood

The worst-case scenario is to experience a flood without a plan. Follow the steps below to get prepared before an emergency occurs. 

Make a Plan

Long before the flood warnings are broadcast, make your flood survival plan. Make a list of evacuation points, communication methods, and emergency supplies.

Plan out your route to the evacuation points, type it up, and distribute it to family. Consider the path to the shelter -- is it through low ground? It may be washed out during the storm.

Your emergency supply kit should include enough food and water, medicine and first aid items, warm clothing, and waterproof gear. The food and water should be enough to last at least 3 days. If anyone in your family has special prescriptions, pack enough for at least 1 week.

Make Your Escape

During a flood, have your evacuation points ready. You may need to act quickly during a flood. Keep your eyes and ears on emergency broadcasts and leave immediately when they say to. Don't try to ride out the storm against the advice of experts. 

Avoid all sources of water while escaping. That includes storm drains and even small creeks. If you see water, head another direction. Even shallow water is dangerous as you cannot predict or control the depth of the water remaining in your path.

Protect Your Home

Before a flood occurs, make sure your home is covered. Contact your insurance company and scrutinize the details of your flood policy. If you don't reside in a high-risk area, you may need to add flood coverage to your policy. 

Start flood proofing your home by sealing your home against floodwater, specifically the basement. You can also purchase and install a sump pump to remove water. 

Prepare your valuables and appliances by storing them in high places and water-resistant containers. At the very least, unplug all electronics.

More Survival Guide Tips

Climate change doesn't just mean higher sea levels -- warmer air causes more frequent and intense precipitation. This means more American cities and towns will be susceptible to flooding each year. You can hope for the best, but make sure to prepare for the worst. Now that you know what to do during a flood, you can start making your emergency plan.

For more helpful survival guides and other lifestyle how-tos, don't forget to browse our page!


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