The number one weather-related killer in the United States each year is flooding. On average, 140 deaths are caused annually due to flood conditions. Three quarters of that number die in vehicles.
Understanding nature -- rather than seeing it as an enemy -- contributes to your opportunity to survive a flood. Flood conditions occur often enough that much information on survival techniques has been gathered.
The primary type of flooding is river flooding. Residents near a river may experience flooding even if there has been no rainfall in the immediate area. Upriver storms and rain can cause the waters to rise in areas that haven't even detected a cloud. Days and weeks of rainfall can join together for a devastating effect. Understanding the lay of the land in your area is important in understanding your risk for flooding.
One of the precautions you can take is to restrain your pets or place them on a leash indoors. If you have livestock, move them to higher ground. Listen to your local weather station. Time is of the essence when a flood warning is issued -- a flash flood warning may give you even less time to act. You may only have seconds to escape. Rising water will seek the lowest level first. Streets, streams and creeks will fill rapidly. Seek out higher ground rather than trying to outrun floodwaters. If a flash flood is headed your way, don't try to outdrive it. Cars can't move as quickly as a flash flood.
If there IS time to prepare, then move your furnishings and valuables to an upper level. Clean water is a priority; fill assorted containers -- including bathtubs -- with drinkable water. If you have a family disaster plan, use it now.
If you see water covering an area, DON'T DRIVE into it. You can't see what dangers the water is covering. The area isn't safe no matter how well you know it. Flood waters can change the terrain. The waters may contain runoff toxic chemicals, downed power lines or other debris. Stop your vehicle, turn it around and find an alternate route.
Avoid walking in floodwaters. The currents in floodwaters are strong. In some cases as little as six inches depth can be enough water to knock an adult or child over and sweep them away. Boiling water advisories may be issued so you'll want to listen to your radio for those. Note any cracks or cervices that may give access to your home. Other animals may seek shelter in your home, including neighbors' pets, snakes and rats.
Once you return to your residence after a flood, check over the outside of the house and look for damage or entry holes for animals. If the foundation appears damaged, hire a professional to inspect the residence to see if it’s safe to enter. Wear protective clothing when cleaning up after a flood. Remember to wear a dust mask, long-sleeves, long pants, rubber gloves and waterproof boots. Floods cause a lot of mud, silt and other debris to enter your home. Plan on changing clothing as often as they become saturated. The mud and muck have bacteria that could cause illness.
There was an impressive flood in Cane Creek, TN earlier this year. No Greater Joy's July-August issue carried articles about the aftermath. Impressive photos are included along with an article by bestselling author Debi Pearl entitled: "The Biggest Cane Creek Flood on Record." Son, Gabriel Pearl contributed an article entitled, "Cane Creek Flood" detailing his adventures. Read No Greater Joy Magazine online or add your name to their free subscription list.