Our friends in Texas are under water and Louisiana is now at risk. Some evacuated and left everything behind. They’re now worrying if they will have a home or anything to go back to.
Others remained in place and are watching the water rise around them. Some already lost their homes and all of their possessions. They have nothing left.
And there are those who lost their lives or whose personal safety is at risk. They’re stranded without food or water. For all of them, the stress of the disaster will take its toll on them for their entire lifetimes.
Many of us have been in similar situations. There are floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, and fires all around the world. No matter how much we sympathize and emphasize with other people’s situations, we don’t fully understand until we’ve actually been there.
Flooding can happen anywhere in the US, and in most areas, any time of year. Landslides and mudslides can follow flooding. Destruction can wipe out entire towns.
In preparation for floods:
Take photos of items in the home.
Purchase flood insurance.
Elevate the heating system, water heater, electric panel, and appliances.
Waterproof the basement.
Install a sump pump with a battery backup.
Keep gutters and drains free of debris.
Practice first aid skills and emergency response actions through training classes.
Stack sandbags around your property if there is a threat of flooding.
Store basic necessities in a bag or container. Include:
Have a First aid kit on hand.
Remember special medical equipment for people with special needs.
Keep prescriptions filled and ready to grab and go.
Secure important documents such as medical records, passwords, legal documents, and pet photos and their medical history saved on an external hard drive or portable thumb drive and placed into a Ziplock bag.
Keep cash on hand.
Pack phones and chargers.
Have some basic clothes packed in a backpack or small bag.
Bring fresh food and water with you.
Priceless items, photos, irreplaceable mementos, and valuables depending on their size and transportability can be packed and ready.
FEMA recommends evacuating prior to flooding, but if you have not:
Turn off the gas, water, and electricity. Do not touch electrical equipment if it is wet or you are standing in water.
Do not drink tap water as it may be polluted.
Evacuate as soon as possible.
Do not enter flooded areas or wade through the water. Its depth can be deceptive. Moving water can carry you away and within the water may be dangerous debris, rocks, mud, and sewage.
Stay informed and monitor weather reports.
Know the evacuation routes and plan your source of transportation and destination.
Text SHELTER + your zip code to 43362 (4FEMA) to find the nearest shelter near you.
Practice how you will communicate with family members.
If trapped in a building, go to the highest point, call 911, and signal for help from the roof if possible.
If trapped in your car in the water, stay in your vehicle if the water is below the window or climb out the window and onto the roof if the water is rising.
If trapped outdoors, climb to the highest ground possible and onto a sturdy object.
For those of us untouched by the disaster, we can reach out to our neighbors by donating money to credible organizations such as the American Red Cross, Salvation Army, and Catholic Charities; donating clothes and other items to organizations such as the Salvation Army and AmVets; opening our home to those left homeless; and praying for them.