Home Emergency Management News Floods: Planning and Preparedness

Floods: Planning and Preparedness


Flooding: Preparation is key

As winter snowmelt begins and springtime rains start falling, both contribute to helping rivers and creeks overflow, causing flooding. Know how to be prepared.

Ready.gov offers information on how to plan and prepare for floods, including what actions should be taken before, during, and after a flood.

Before a flood

Ready.gov indicates that the best time to plan is before there is the threat of a flood, and knowing the risk of flooding for present locations -- homes, places of business, roadways – is key.

The site offers suggestions on how to make emergency plans for a variety of individuals and scenarios including children, parents, and transit commuters. In addition, it offers suggestions for compiling an emergency preparedness kit with items that will likely be needed should a flood occur: flashlights, first aid kits, batteries, and cash.

Other suggestions include becoming familiar with the local community emergency plans, such as where shelters are located, the best evacuation routes to higher ground, and knowing what the different watches and warnings mean that are issued from the National Weather Service.

During a flood

Ready.gov advises that if there is a concern of flooding, turn on televisions or radios to be alerted should a Flood Watch or Flood Warning be issued. The site suggests pulling out emergency plans and make sure everyone knows what to do and where to go if an evacuation order is issued.

Once a Flood Watch is issued, the site notes that preparations for the home should begin. These include moving at-risk items inside and outside the home to safer locations -- typically higher ground. The site also urges residents to disconnect electrical equipment and, once instructed, to turn off gas or electricity at the main switch. This can help prevent electrocution, explosions and/or fires.

Finally, Ready.gov indicates that if a Flood Warning is issued, it is imperative to follow the directives of local emergency management authorities, including moving to higher ground or evacuating if directed.

Other life saving tips and suggestions noted on the website include:

  • Do not drive a vehicle through flood waters as only 6 inches of water is enough to knock down individuals, and only 2 feet of water can sweep a car downstream.
  • Abandon cars if water begins rising around it, but do not enter moving water.
  • Avoid parking along rivers, streams, and creeks during heavy rainfall, and move to higher ground immediately if the chance of flash flooding exists.

After a flood

Tips from the site offer ways to maintain safety after a flood, as well.

Tips include using caution when driving or walking, since floodwaters can damage and erode supportive structures for roads and walkways, avoiding standing water in case power lines or electrical currents are still charging it, and, once emergency management personnel have declared areas safe, only then should residents return home.

Kimberly Arsenault Kimberly Arsenault serves as an intern at the Cleveland/Bradley County Emergency Management Agency where she works on plan revisions and special projects. Previously, Kimberly spent 15 years in commercial and business aviation. Her positions included station manager at the former Midwest Express Airlines, as well as corporate flight attendant, inflight manager, and charter flight coordinator. Kimberly currently holds a master's degree in emergency and disaster management from American Public University.