Imagine being awakened at 2:00 a.m. by a loud, persistent banging at the door, with the sound of a roaring evacuation vehicle in your driveway. Quick, what would you do? Would you have time to grab important papers, valuable mementos, or family pets?
This happened to me one spring morning last year. I left home with nothing but the clothes on my back and my 35 pound rescue dog in tow.
Fortunately, my house did NOT flood, but it was a scare nonetheless. The reality does not hit until you come face to face with the fact that you are being evacuated from your home and you do not know what will happen next. It is unimaginable to know what to expect until you have lived through a disaster, but many have experienced the aftermath of flood, hurricanes, and fire damage.
By all means, if you are in a designated flood area, purchase flood insurance. Create a list of valuables, whether you store the list in a safety deposit box or make it accessible online.
Know your evacuation route in case it is necessary. In my case, the flood waters rose over the roads quickly and if the evacuation team had not knocked on my door, I would have had no way out. This is when big trucks come in handy!
In low lying areas, it is smart to have air conditioning units, water heaters, etc., installed on elevated platforms. Install backflow valves for drains, toilets, and sewer connections, and anchor fuel tanks.
From experience, I learned it is wise to have an emergency kit packed and in a designated area of the home that can be grabbed at a moments notice. Flashlights, batteries, granola bars, bottled water, dry socks and rain slicks are necessities at times like this. My rescuers were kind enough to let me scurry through the house gathering essentials (and getting dressed), but that is not always practical. As it was, I was damp and cold until I arrived at my destination.
Be sure to have a fully charged cell phone and a spare charger tucked into your emergency kit. If bad weather is predicted, charge that phone!
Be EXTREMELY careful if driving on flooded roads, as it is easy to be swept away by flood waters or washed out roads. Listen carefully to local weather reports and act accordingly.
We hope the unthinkable never happens, but if it does, we can try to prepare for the worst.
If you have other suggestions on how to plan in advance for a flood, please share them below.
Graphic compliments of Mississippi Association of Realtors and used with permission.