Flood Safety and Preparedness*
A safety checklist prepared for you by the Liberty Mutual Group.
Floods can be devastating, causing those affected to lose their property, their pets, and sometimes even their lives. Floods and flash floods are the most common type of natural disaster, so it is wise to be as prepared as possible in the event a flood threatens you, your family or your property.Before a flood strikes:
Prepare family members:
- Learn more about the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Your homeowners insurance policy will not cover flood damage; the only way to protect your home and property from floods is to purchase a flood insurance policy. If you live in one of the more than 18,500 US communities that participates in the NFIP, you can purchase flood insurance from Liberty Mutual -- call your local office for details.
If a flood warning is issued:
- Plan an escape route to higher, safer ground.
- Teach your children what to do in the event of an emergency.
- Have a family member take a first aid course.
- Appoint an out-of-town friend or relative to serve as your "family contact." After a disaster, anyone not at home should check in with the contact person.
- Know your pets' favorite hiding places so that you can find them in an emergency.
- Keep the gas tank of the family car filled and ready for an emergency evacuation.
- Keep on hand materials that might be needed, such as shovels, sandbags, plywood, hammer and nails, plastic sheeting and lumber.
- Assemble disaster supplies such as a portable radio, a flashlight with extra batteries, water and food that does not need refrigeration, a manual can opener, dry clothing, cash and a first aid kit.
- If possible, have on hand a raft, oars and life preservers -- necessary for escape during a flash flood.
- Consider installing check valves in your home's sewer traps to prevent water from backing up in sewer drains. If you don't use such valves, have large corks or rubber stoppers available to plug shower and sink drains to prevent floodwater back-up.
- Listen to your radio or television to learn if the National Weather Service issues an official flood warning, for evacuation notices and further information.
If a flood watch is issued
- Store drinking water in plastic containers. Also clean bathtubs and fill with water.
- Move essential items to higher locations if possible.
- Bring patio furniture and other outside belongings into the house or garage.
During a flood:
- If you are required to evacuate, turn off your house's electric, water and gas utilities before leaving. This can reduce the possibility of electrocution or explosion when the power is turned back on.
- Take family pets and other valuables with you. You will not get the opportunity to retrieve these items later. Keep in mind, however, that many emergency shelters do not accept pets, so you should develop a contingency plan for your dogs, cats and other household pets.
- Move to a safe area before access is cut off by flood water.
If you are in a car
- Avoid walking through floodwaters. If it is moving swiftly, water only six inches deep can sweep you off your feet.
- If you are inside a building when a flood strikes, move to the top floor or roof and wait for assistance.
After a flood
- If you come to a flooded area, turn around and go another way.
- If your car stalls, abandon it immediately and climb to higher ground. Many deaths have resulted from attempts to move stalled vehicles.
- Wait for an OK from an official agency, either the police or local emergency management agency, before re-entering your house.
- Look for hazards, including loose wires, broken gas lines or submerged electrical appliances.
- Be alert for animals that may have been swept into your house with the flood water. Snakes -- including poisonous ones -- are a relatively common sight after a flood.
- Have all utilities and appliances thoroughly checked by a professional before use in order to avoid electrocution.
- Service septic tanks and leaching systems as soon as possible.
- Boil all drinking water or use bottled water.
- Throw out any medicines or food -- even canned goods -- that were touched by flood water.
- Pump out flooded basements gradually to avoid structural damage. A rate of about 1/2 of the flood water per day should be safe.
- Let your car dry out before trying to start it.
- Take an inventory of any damaged property or possessions. Do not dispose of any items without the prior approval of your insurance adjuster.
- In the event of a loss, call your Liberty Mutual claims office and a representative will assist you.