Preparing for a Flood
Right now, Austin is in the middle of summer. At this time of year, we’re usually more worried about fires than floods, but that’s exactly when we should prepare our homes and families for autumn rainy seasons.
Assess Your Flood Vulnerability
The most conclusive way to find out if your home or office is vulnerable to flooding is to check a flood map.
If you’re having trouble interpreting the flood map or figuring out what your actual risk is, call on the experiences of your neighbors. Ask neighbors who’ve lived on your street for years whether they’ve seen high water nearby. Post a question on a community group asking about the worst storm that anyone in that area has experienced.
Finally, explore your neighborhood and take note of creek beds that could become low water crossings. The next time it rains, take a drive over to them and see how close the water gets to the road.
Make a Plan
Flooding can happen fast in many environments. You need to have an evacuation plan ready and an emergency bag packed before water begins to rise.
You should already be aware of which roads in your community are likely to flood first. Plan a route to higher ground that doesn’t use any potential low water crossings. Talk to friends or family members and arrange for a place to go during a storm if an evacuation is ordered. If you think you might need it, put aside an envelope of literal “rainy day” cash so that you’ll have the funds to use if you need to spend the night at a hotel.
Your evacuation bag should contain everything you’ll need for a couple nights away from home. For example
- Sanitary items
- Pet or baby equipment and supplies
- A change of clothing
- Emergency blanket
- Maps of the area (don’t rely on your phone’s map. If power goes down, you’ll need a map even after your phone dies).
- Paper copies of important documents, such as medical information, deed or lease to your home, and insurance information.
You should also have some supplies set aside in case you're stranded in place.
- Food and water for three days
- A flashlight and extra batteries
- A battery powered (or crank-powered) radio
- First Aid supplies
Plan Ahead for Potential Home Repairs
Finally, take time to create a plan for repairing your home after a flood occurs. Talk to your insurance provider about the flood insurance you might need. Talk to others in your community who have been through home repairs and get names of contractors they’d recommend (or recommend you avoid).
Educate yourself about flood damage. The more informed you are about what to expect, the less scary it will be to deal with the aftermath of a flood.
It’s always intimidating to plan for any natural disaster. It’s important to realize that even though you may never have experienced a flood, you’re not alone in the process.
While most homeowners may never have to deal with a flood, professionals in the restoration, insurance, and local and national governments have years of specialized experience with these disasters. You can benefit from their experience before the rain even begins to fall.