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Is your area prone to flooding or did you hear about floods in nearby areas? Floods are the most costly and common form of natural disaster in the United States. Floods occur when heavy or frequent rains saturate the ground. Bodies of water can swell and overflow, causing floods. Know what to do when a flood is likely in your area.
Preparing for a Flood
1Watch the news.
Newscasters will give frequent updates on the weather in your area and will always call attention to dangerous or disastrous conditions. Pay close attention to the local weather in your area. Also, it is helpful to know what the newscasters are talking about. Some common terms you may hear are:
2Stock up on food and water.
You will want to have supplies ready in case a flood traps you in your house. Make sure you have 3 days’ worth of food and clean drinking water prepared and ready to go. Make sure that the food supplies you pick will not go bad and do not require any preparation.
- Canned foods are good because they do not spoil and are generally ready to eat.
3Ask your parents where things are.
There may be some items that you will want to bring into the shelter with you, but you may not know where your parents keep these items. You should ask your parents before a flood where all the important documents for your family are kept. If they show you where they are, you can retrieve them and bring them into the shelter in the event of a flood.
- Many parents aren’t comfortable showing children where these documents might be. If your parents feel this way, then make sure to talk to them about storing these documents in a safe place that will remain free of flood waters.
- You will want to know where documents like the deed to your house, social security cards, state IDs or drivers licenses, and medical records or documents, are kept in the event of an emergency.
4Keep the necessary supplies ready.
There are a number of items you will want to have prepared in case a flood hits your area. These basic supplies will help you deal with emergency situations and keep you informed in the event of a disaster like a flood. Some things to have ready are:
- A first aid kit. This will help you be ready to deal with minor injuries that may occur during a flood, like scrapes, cuts or minor burns.
- A flashlight. When floods hit, the power often goes out. You will want to have a flashlight, and replacement batteries, ready in case of a flood.
- A battery-powered or hand-crank radio. You need to stay connected to the outside world to listen for information or warnings about the flood. If the power goes out, you will need a radio that does not rely on electrical current.
- Medical supplies. Make sure you collect all of your medical supplies in the shelter with you. If you or anyone in your family takes prescription pills, uses a hearing aid, glasses, a cane, etc. bring these items to the shelter with you.
- Hygiene products. It is important to have toilet paper, paper towel, antibacterial soap, and towels ready for everyone in the shelter.
- Family heirlooms and keepsakes. Anything of sentimental value (like your favorite baseball cards, a stuffed animal, birthday cards, etc.) should also be sealed in a plastic bag and stored in the shelter to prevent damage.
- Animals and all of their supplies. If you have pets, you need to make sure you have enough food and water for them as well. Also bring leashes, cages, and any other tools you may need to move your animal with you into the shelter.
- Cell phones and cell phone chargers. Make sure you bring cell phones and chargers to the shelter so you can call for help if you need to.
5Select an ideal room.
The best place to build a flood shelter is any room that is high up and off the ground floor, like second story bedrooms or attics. Ideally, you should use your own room to build the shelter, if it is not on the ground floor. Also, you will need to clean the room you select. Pick up your books, toys, and clothes and put them away. You will need all the space you can get if you have to turn your room into a flood shelter, so make sure your room is free of clutter and trash.
- If there is any unimportant furniture in your room, ask your parents if you can move it elsewhere.
Clean out the closet. If you have a big closet, clean it up so that you can put supplies in it. Anything that won’t be needed when the flood hits should be moved out of the closet and into a different room in the house.
7Ask if you can get a TV in your room.
If you’re not allowed to have a TV in your room, get a radio to listen for flood warnings and weather updates while you are in the shelter.
Making a Shelter in Your Room
1Set up a portable TV or radio.
Your room will become like a command center. You need to be able to listen to information and news reports about the storm and the flooding. Set up a portable TV or radio in a high place that you can easily access.
Clean off your desk. You will need this space to put supplies on, so make sure your desk is clear of debris and clutter. Also, if you have a laptop or computer, it is probably best to unplug and store it away in a plastic bag to avoid damage.
3Lay out sleeping bags.
You will want to make sure there is a place for everyone in your family to rest while waiting out the flood. Lay down as many sleeping bags as necessary to make sure your family can rest comfortably on the floor of your room.
- You will also want to bring some extra pillows in there for everyone too.
4Bring board games.
You will want to bring board games, a deck of cards, or something you can all do together. You will need to pass the time in your shelter and may not have any electricity, so board games and card games are a good way to do that.
5Get your family to shelter in your room.
Now that you have everything set up and your shelter is ready to go, get your family and pets into the shelter you have built. Make sure everyone stays calm and listens frequently for updates about the weather.
6Be prepared to evacuate.
You’ve done an excellent job setting up the shelter for your family. However, floods can change directions and rise quickly. So, during your time in the shelter listen to news and weather reports often and be ready to evacuate your house immediately if you need to.
- Be ready to help elderly family members and pets evacuate with you.
7Use the top floor or attic.
There is really nothing special about flood shelters, other than the fact that they are high off the ground. With this in mind, ask your parents about turning the entire second floor of your house, or your attic space, into a flood shelter. This will give you more room when taking shelter from the storm.
- If they say yes, then move all the supplies you gathered around the wider area you are now working with.
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- If the flood is very bad, evacuate.
Things You’ll Need
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wikiHow is a “wiki,” similar to Wikipedia, which means that many of our articles are co-written by multiple authors. To create this article, 11 people, some anonymous, worked to edit and improve it over time. Together, they cited 17 references. This article has also been viewed 7,778 times.
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