Flood Safety Week: Safety and Preparation Tips for the Most Common Natural Disaster


I was surprised to learn that floods are the most common natural disaster in the United States. Given that fact, it was less surprising that flash flooding is the leading cause of weather-related deaths in the United States.

Brentwood FloodThe residents of Brentwood, TN know the damaging effects of floods well. In May 2010, they experienced the worst natural disaster in the City’s history when 14-17 inches of rain drenched the city for 30 hours straight resulting in water damage to 264 homes, mudslides, damage to roads and bridges, and even generated several fires in flooding homes.

The reality of flooding is that anywhere it rains, it can flood.  The risk of flooding isn’t just based on the area’s history. It is also based on rainfall, topography, flood-control measures, and changes due to new construction and development.  To fully gauge your risk, view the most up to date FEMA Issued Flood Maps here.

March 18-22nd is National Flood Safety Awareness Week, take a few moments to review the best ways you can prepare your home and your family for a flood.

First, make sure you understand the difference between a flood watch and a flood warning. A flood watch means flooding is possible. A flood warning should be taken more seriously because it means flooding is occurring or will occur soon.

If there is a flood warning, you will need to act quickly, but there are a lot of things you can do today well before the announcement of an impending or occurring flood.  It is recommended to build an emergency kit and make a family communications plan. A family communication plan should include memorizing emergency phone numbers, and when to call them, agreeing upon the safest route from your home to high ground, arranging for housing in the event you need to evacuate, and teaching all family members how and when to turn off gas, electricity and water lines.

Additionally, if you need to dial 9-1-1 during a flood, providing additional information to 9-1-1 call takers and first responders in a Smart911 Safety Profile can help them assist you faster and more efficiently. If waters rise and cover street signs and house numbers, a picture of your home or structure details can assist first responders in locating your home.  Knowing about mobility limitations can help responders know who is in need of what type of equipment before being dispatched to your location which can help save time. In the event of a flood or any natural disaster, the details in a Safety Profile that can help 9-1-1 call takers and first responders save lives.

By preparing an emergency kit and setting up a comprehensive family communications plan, you are giving yourself and your family a great advantage to surviving a flood in your area. By creating a Safety Profile, you are giving first responders and 9-1-1 call takers a great advantage to assisting you, if needed. In honor of National Flood Safety Awareness Week, take these extra steps and gain peace of mind and greater safety.



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