Flood Recovery Guide – Best Practices

In the United States, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is always monitoring the conditions of the nation’s rivers. The National Weather Service River Forecast Center, a subsection of the NOAA, are ready to issue forecasts when they see that a river or river system is in danger of overflowing. A flood warning is given if the flood is slow to come, and a flash-flood watch is given if the danger is approaching quickly.

One of the dangers that come from flooding is the spread of disease. Because flooding disrupts regular waste disposal, business, and access to fresh water supplies, food has to be provided by relief agencies. Survivors are often left without electricity, gas, and oil, meaning no cooked food or hot water. Repair crews are called in to help get equipment working again, a process that sometimes takes months.

Residents in flood areas would do well to keep the following basic safety rules in mind.

Warning Signs

  • If you hear the words “flood forecast” on the news, know that heavy rains could cause an overflowing river.
  • If you hear the words “flood warning,” realize that flooding will happen now or very soon.
  • If you hear “flash flood warning,” that means certain areas are expecting or experiencing sudden floods.
  • Turn off all utilities.
  • Be prepared to evacuate. If necessary, flee to higher ground.
  • If you are driving, stay away from storm drains and irrigation ditches.
  • Never go past a police blockade. Roped-off areas are usually off-limits and dangerous to citizens.
  • Keep the radio on for further instructions.
  • If your car won’t start and water is rising, leave the vehicle and find higher ground.
  • Place sandbags around your house as instructed.
  • If you see a flood coming, don’t hesitate to evacuate!

What to Do Immediately After a Flood

  • Check for injuries and help the wounded if necessary.
  • If you need additional help, call 911.
  • Listen for news updates on what to do.
  • Avoid flooded areas.
  • Be cautious when handling animals.

How to Recover After a Flood

Personal Healthcare

  • You and your family are the #1 priority. Take care of yourselves and have the necessary rest.
  • Try to have as best possible diet and sleep as you can.
  • Seek help from a mental health professional if you notice the signs of stress, anxiety, panic attacks, and similar conditions.
  • Slowly try to rebuild the work habits. Don’t go too hard on yourself if you aren’t as productive as you were before.

Home Restoration

About Flood Prevention

Today, there are many ways to help prevent and control floods. Flood-control dams have been constructed throughout history across rivers. Dikes and levees are built alongside rivers to keep them from overflowing during periods of high water. Canals are also used to help drain off extra water. Streams and rivers can be diverted to avoid highly populated areas. Regulation of floodplain development and urbanization would reduce flood losses. Prevention of soil erosion also helps control flooding, which is why it’s a good idea to plant lots of trees, treat slopes and grads, and create reservoirs to catch sediment and debris.

Scientists continue to study lowland areas. People have gradually filled in wetlands to create land for roads, houses, and cities. About 200,000 to 400,000 acres of wetlands are lost in the United States each year, but the bottomlands, bogs, marshes, and swamps are very valuable in preventing and controlling floods. The wetlands act like giant sponges that soak up huge amounts of water and let it run off slowly. When these areas are filled in and built over, floods are more likely to occur.

Ultimately, people cannot control nature. Tropical storms, hurricanes, thunderstorms, and melting snow will cause floods. In the past, these disasters have caused millions of dollars’ worth in damage. They have taken numerous lives. To survive, keep your cool and prepare yourself with the supplies and knowledge necessary for survival.

We hope that this article was helpful to you. As we strive to improve our content and resources all the time, please let us know what you think of our articles by leaving a comment or directly emailing us. Thank you and best of luck!

Flooding Preparation Guide – In-depth Guide

The first step is inspecting your property and taking a serious flooding-risk assessment.

1. Will water come in through doors, windows and other openings? 
The answer is almost always yes. Unless they have been built specifically to prevent water ingress (unlikely), you have to protect your building apertures.

2. Will water come in through my walls? 
The answer may surprise you, but quite often it is also yes.  It may not be commonplace knowledge outside of the construction industry but most bricks and more often the mortar joints are porous – they let in water after a surprisingly short time. So if floodwater is liable to persist more than 24 hours it may well come in through your walls. 

3. Will water (or worse, sewerage) come through downstairs drain outlets, like toilets, baths and sinks? 
Unless you have protected those outlets the answer again is probably yes depending on the depth of floodwater and back pressure. You have to consider protecting your drain inlets.

4. Will water come up through my floors, through rising groundwater levels or through sub floor ventilation (airbricks)? 
This would depend on the geology of the ground around you and the structure of your floors, even foundations.  If your house is built directly on to an impermeable material such as clay then rising groundwater will probably not come up.

5. How strong are my walls?
If you stop water coming into your building then its weight bears against the building perimeter walls.  They have to be strong enough to take the expected weight of water or they may suffer damage in flood conditions. 

What to do next?

Consult with a flooding professional on what steps you should take to decrease the risk as much as possible. Keep in mind that every property is different and therefore the steps each homeowner should take will also be different.

For homeowners, however, there’s more to it than ensuring their family and property survive such natural calamities — it means living life as normal as possible afterward, as well.

While injuries and property damage can happen during floods, being prepared for it can minimize casualties. Make sure to tick off the flood safety and preparedness items on your checklist.

Know the extent of your insurance coverage

Review your insurance policy to see what kind of coverage you have and, if need be, add necessary coverage before flooding season starts. Having a public insurance adjuster on-call won’t hurt either, especially when you need immediate action in the aftermath of destructive calamities.

Keep important documentation safe and secure

Copies of birth and marriage certificates, wills, citizenship documents, bank account info, and a comprehensive inventory of valuables should be stored in a secure place capable of withstanding damage (like a safety vault). Should there be a need to evacuate, transfer them to a sealed plastic bag and take them with you.

Educate your family on safety measures

Familiarize each member of the family on safety measures and actions to take during a flood. For instance, members should agree on relocation point (usually the safest room or space in the house for shelter), like a walk-in closet or a widow-less interior bathroom.

Stock up on supplies. Non-perishable goods like canned food, dry cereal, soup, etc., and at least a gallon of water to last each person 3-7 days is a reasonable amount to keep. Also, keep an emergency supplies kit containing first aid materials, flashlights, whistles, and even an inflatable raft.

Regardless of where you are located during a flood, always remember that you and your family’s safety is the priority. Only go back to your property when authorities declare the area safe. Furthermore, document all noticeable damage on your property through photos and video.

If you’re a Gila County resident, make sure to go to check out more flooding resources by the Gila County’s main website. Also, check out our guide on how to recover after a flood. In case, you’d like to get in touch with us, send an email to admin@gilaflood.info.