Flood Preparedness: Before, During, After
Did you know flooding is the most common natural disaster in the United States? It’s true, and an even more startling fact is that although some areas of the country are at greater risk at certain times of the year, they can happen anywhere.
Now, enough with the scary stuff! Floods can certainly have a negative impact on you, your belongings and your surroundings, but there are steps you can take to help you and your family protect what matters most. All you have to do is think about the before, during, and after.
BEFORE THE FLOOD
- Sign up for your community’s warning system. This can often provide you with text updates to your phone throughout the duration of a flood event in your area. The Emergency (EAS) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio also provide emergency alerts.
- Learn and practice evacuation routes, shelter plans, and flash flood response.
- Gather supplies in case you have to leave immediately, or if services are cut off. Keep in mind each person’s specific needs, including medication. Don’t forget the needs of pets. Obtain extra batteries and charging devices for phones and other critical equipment.
- Keep important documents in a waterproof container. Create password-protected digital copies.
- Move valuables to higher levels. Declutter drains and gutters. Install check valves. Consider a sump pump with a battery.
- Call your American National agent to purchase or renew a flood insurance policy. It typically takes up to 30 days for a policy to go into effect. Note that homeowner policies don’t usually cover flooding.
DURING THE FLOOD
- Depending on where you are and the conditions you are experiencing, the best idea is to remain indoors.
- If told to evacuate, do so immediately. Never drive around barricades, as local responders use them to safely direct traffic out of flooded areas.
- Continue to listen to EAS, NOAA Weather Radio, or local alerting systems for current emergency information and instructions.
- NEVER walk, swim, or drive through flood waters.
- Stay off bridges over fast-moving water.
AFTER THE FLOOD
- If you had to evacuate, return home only when authorities say it’s safe.
- Avoid driving if possible, as flood waters may continue to rise even after rainfall.
- Snakes and other animals may be in or around your house. Wear heavy gloves and boots during clean up.
- Do not touch electrical equipment if it is wet or if you are standing in water. If it is safe to do so, turn off the electricity to prevent electric shock.
- Avoid wading in floodwater, which can be contaminated.
- Use a generator or other gasoline-powered machinery ONLY outdoors and away from windows.
These are great tips for preparing for a flood in your area. However, if you have additional questions about flood insurance and want to explore your options, contact your American National agent today. Or, if you don’t have an American National agent, click here to find a local agent and get the conversation started. As always, stay safe and be prepared!
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