Flash Flood Safety

Flash Flood Safety

Did you know flash floods can create water depths between 10 to 20 feet? When it comes to natural disasters, flash floods are often overlooked. Hurricanes, tornadoes, and tsunamis may receive most of the media’s attention, but flash floods can still cause tremendous damage. Understanding how flash floods develop will help you better prepare and protect your home, car, and even yourself.

Flash Floods 101

Flash floods can occur for many different reasons including overflowing rivers, excessive rain, and even ice melting in the mountains. Most floods can develop quickly and without any warning signs.

Flash floods have destructive powers. Moving water is so powerful, even the strongest of structures can be damaged. Plus, the water isn’t the only thing that causes destruction. Once the flood recedes you are left with excessive amounts of mud. The water can be contaminated with dangerous chemicals or sewage, and mold can quickly develop in affected areas. Flash floods are more than just a heavy rainstorm and they should not be taken lightly.

Flash Flood Safety for Your Car

You don’t want to be caught outside during a storm, but sometimes you have no other choice. In the event of a flash flood, you can easily be blindsided and put in a difficult situation within minutes. We have compiled our best tips and tricks you should know to help keep you and your car safe during a flash flood.

  • If a road is barricaded, do not drive through it. Turn around or choose a different route. This also goes for roads that have standing water. Do not attempt to drive through them because the depth of the water is unknown.
  • If you must drive through the water, go slow and steady.
  • Be cautious of any power lines that may be in the water.
  • Watch out for anything that may be picked up from the current. Large items could hit you or your car and cause damage or injuries.
  • Stay off of your cell phone unless you are calling for help or reporting an emergency.
  • If your vehicle stalls in deep water, do not try to restart it. Restarting it can cause irreparable engine damage. If you become trapped in rising water, abandon your car and seek higher ground. If the water is too deep and you cannot open the door or window, call 911 immediately.

Flash Flood Safety for Your Home

Flash flood safety starts long before the storm begins. The key to protecting your home and belongings is being proactive. The phrase “better safe than sorry” certainly applies. Here are our favorite tips and tricks to help lower the chance of home damage.

  • Seal basement and exterior facing walls with waterproofing compounds to help prevent water from entering during a flash flood.
  • Raise all outdoor equipment (air conditioners, generators, etc.) above flood level.
  • Assess the slopes in your property to determine how the water flows so you can be aware of those specific areas.
  • Clear debris from gutters and water spouts.
  • Store important documents (birth certificates, passport, etc.) in a safety deposit box
  • Know the difference between a flood warning and a flood watch. A watch means flooding is possible whereas a warning means flooding is occurring or will be soon.

Even if you take all the necessary precautions before a flash flood, there can still be significant damage. If you catch yourself in the middle of a flash flood, follow these tips to help salvage your home and belongings.

  • Move all furniture and rugs to the uppermost floors. If you do not have a second level, find a way to raise your items up off the ground. Raise all appliances (refrigerator, stove, etc.) with concrete blocks.
  • Shut off the electrical breaker panel.
  • Move yourself to higher ground. In the event that your furniture and electronics will be ruined, leave immediately anyway. Your safety outweighs the importance of your personal belongings.
  • If you have to walk through water do you best to avoid the current.
  • To avoid electrocution, do not touch any electrical equipment.

Once the storm passes and the flood subsides, complete the following safety steps:

  • Listen to the news. There may be other areas that are flooded that you need to avoid. Additionally, the water supply may be unsafe to drink. It is important to keep yourself updated and educated on the current circumstances.
  • Avoid any flooded areas even if they are very shallow. The remaining flood area may be contaminated with raw sewage, oil, or gasoline. There may also be power lines hidden underneath the water.
  • Be careful driving on older roads and bridges. The strong water currents may have compromised the bridge or road’s integrity and they may collapse.
  • Report any power lines that are on the ground to the power company immediately.
  • Clean everything in your home that the water touched. Flood waters can be contaminated with dangerous chemicals and raw sewage.

The Importance of Flood Insurance

A flash flood can cause emotional and financial distress, especially if you do not have flood insurance. Flood insurance is generally not included in homeowners insurance and is not required unless you live in a high-risk area. Purchasing flood insurance is a small price to pay for peace-of-mind. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, one inch of water can cause nearly $30,000-$50,000 in damage!

Flood insurance is vital to protect your home. If you are interested in exploring coverage options that are specific for your needs, fill out this form or contact us at 615-964-5250 to speak with a top agent!

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