Flooding is the most common natural disaster in the United States.\nThe causes of flooding vary greatly from region to region, but the outcome is frequently the same: damaged property, loss of personal belongings, and—worst of all—loss of life.\nWhile you have little power to prevent a flood from occurring (thanks, in part, to the unrestrainable power of Mother Nature), there’s a lot you can do to prepare for a flood.\nIf you prepare yourself efficiently, then you might be able to save your property, your personals, a whole lot of money, and the lives of your loved ones.\nSo let’s make you flood-savvy:\n\nTypes of Floods\nLearn Your Flood Risk\nFlood Supplies\nPreparing Your Property for Flooding\nFlood Insurance\nFlood Evacuation Plan\nSurviving Floods\nAfter A Flood\n\nTypes of Floods\nGenerally, there are three different types of floods. You should know how each of these floods occur so you’ll be able to monitor and recognize flood-inducing situations.\n\n\nSlow-onset flood\n\nA slow-onset flood is a flood that occurs very slowly. This type of flood happens when rain falls for a long period of time. Lakes, man-made drains, and ground-absorption can’t contain all the excess water, so it spills into urban areas.\n\nRapid-onset flood\n\nA rapid-onset flood (also known as a flash flood) is a flood that occurs in a very short amount of time. A flash flood may result from a tsunami, but not always. Flash floods typically happen after periods of extremely heavy rainfall.\n\nStorm surge\n\nA storm surge occurs when storm winds pull water onto land (from a body of water, like a lake or river). Storm surges can create flooding as high as 35 feet. They mostly occur over a short period of time—typically between 4 to 8 hours.\nLearn Your Flood Risk\nBefore you develop an action plan, you need to know exactly what your area’s flood risk is. If you’re living in the United States, you’ll experience higher flood risks depending on which region you’re living in and what season it is.\n\nCoastal Regions: greater risk of flooding during Hurricane season (June through November)\nMidwest: greater risk of flooding in spring and during heavy summer rains\nNortheast and Northwest: greater risk of flooding during spring ice jams\nSouthwest deserts: greater risk of flooding during late summer monsoon season\n\nIt’s important to evaluate how close you are to bodies of water. Are you situated right on the coastline? Do you live nearby a lake or river? Do you live downstream from a dam or levee?\nIf you said yes to any of these questions, then your flood risk will be higher any time of year.\nFlood Supplies\nSevere flooding may leave you stranded in your home, car, or other environment. You should assemble an efficient array of survival gear to help you through any period where you’re deprived of food, water, or shelter. Survival gear should include—but is not limited to—food rations, water, weather-resistant clothing, and tools.\nA survival backpack is a great way to consolidate your gear. It keeps all of your survival essentials in one place, and you’ll easily be able to carry it from place to place. The SEVENTY2 is designed by survival experts, and will get you through that ever important first 72 hours following a flood or other emergency situation.\nPreparing Your Property for Flooding\nIf a flood is imminent, you should prepare your property to block, reduce, or withstand floodwater.\nTo fortify your home:\n\nConstruct barriers (levees\/berms\/flood walls) around your property to block floodwater—you might need permission from your local government due to building codes.\nClear debris from gutters so they won’t get backed up with rainwater.\nHave backflow valves installed in your plumbing (to prevent floodwater from rising into your house through the drains).\nAdd waterproof lining to your basement walls.\nHave a sump pump on hand to pump water from your household (and have a battery-powered backup on hand in case of a power failure).\n\n\nTo secure your belongings:\n\nElevate critical utilities so they won’t get wet (electrical panels, wiring, appliances, etc.)\nMove valuable furniture and materials to a higher floor or safer location\nBring outdoor furniture indoors or fasten them to a secure surface (they can pose a serious hazard if they’re swept away by floodwater)\nKeep important documents in waterproof containers.\n\nRunning gas and electricity are extremely dangerous if floodwater enters your home:\n\nDisrupted gas mains can spark a fire or an explosion.\nFloodwater may become electrically charged if it meets electric circuits and poses the danger of electrocution.\n\nFor those reasons, you should consider turning off your gas and electricity in the event of a flood.\nFlood Insurance\nInvest in flood insurance if you think your property is at risk of flood damage.\nFlood insurance likely won’t be expensive in low-risk areas. It’ll be more expensive in high-risk areas, but should be considered a necessity. Remember, just a few inches of flooding can cause thousands of dollars in damages.\nIf you’re going to purchase flood insurance, make sure you get coverage for both your property and the contents of your property—typically, your property and your belongings are covered on separate policies.\nAlso keep in mind that most insurance policies require a 30-day waiting period before they’re activated. Don’t wait until there’s a storm on the horizon to get covered!\nFlood Evacuation Plan\nFlooding may force you to evacuate your home. Make sure you chart out an evacuation plan that’ll quickly and safely get you out of harm’s way.\nOn the FEMA website, you can find a flood map for your area. The flood map will map out the areas of your community that are most vulnerable to flooding. You can use a flood map to chart evacuation routes that avoid those areas.\nYour evacuation route should:\n\nAvoid heading in the direction of the flood source (most likely, a body of water)\nAvoid using a route that takes you to a lower elevation (lower elevations are more likely to be flooded)\nAvoid crossing bridges that span a body of water\n\nWhen considering evacuation destinations:\n\nChoose several different places you can stay. Pick destinations that lie in different directions and know alternative routes.\nBe prepared to go by foot or by alternative modes of transport. You may not be able to use your car during certain flooding situations.\n\nDon’t forget about your live animals! Make sure to pick evacuation destinations that are pet-friendly, and be sure to pack food for them and appropriate shelter, if necessary. If you have livestock, be sure to evacuate them to higher ground.\n\nSurviving Floods\nIf local authorities advise you to evacuate your home, you should leave immediately.\nConsider this the golden rule of flood survival. During a period of heavy rainfall or a hurricane, you should be prepared to evacuate at short notice, even if a flood warning hasn’t been issued.\nHere are some other important survival tips:\n\nWhen evacuating, never drive around barricades—local responders use them to safely direct traffic in an evacuation.\nTune in to local alert systems for emergency updates or evacuation information. These include the Emergency Alert System (EAS) and NOAA Weather Radio. Always have a portable radio with you.\nSeek higher ground if you can’t get safely away from the disaster area.\nIf your vehicle gets trapped in moving water, stay inside it. If water is rising in the vehicle, climb onto the roof.\nIf you’re trapped in a building, seek refuge on its highest level. Don’t climb into a closed attic, and only climb onto the roof if necessary.\nNever wade in moving water, even if it doesn’t appear to be deep. 6 inches of moving water can knock you down. One foot of moving water can sweep away your vehicle (SUVs and pickup trucks, too).\n\nAgain, we can’t stress the importance of having sturdy survival gear on hand. If you’re stranded, rescuers might not be able to reach you for hours or days.\n\nAfter A Flood\nDanger may persist even after floodwaters subside. Follow these tips to keep safe:\n\nListen to local authorities, and only return home when they say it’s safe to.\nSnakes and animals may be in your house. Make sure to wear heavy gloves and boots while you’re cleaning up.\nDo not touch electrical equipment if it’s wet or if you’re standing in floodwater.\nDon’t wade in floodwater. The water may be contaminated or contain dangerous debris or animals. It may also be electrically charged.\n\nBe careful when you’re pumping water out of the basement, and pump out only a third of basement water per day. If basement water is removed too quickly, then pressure from the water-saturated soil could cause your basement walls to collapse.\nDon’t let flooding destroy your home and family. Keep these flood prep tips in mind and weather any storm that comes your way.