by Justine Wilson
When you live on an island, flooding from heavy rains or other weather events is something to be aware of and requires preparation. Floods are one of the most common natural disasters. Flooding can ruin cherished family memories or create mold. Keeping your valuables, family and home safe is easier than you think!
Prior To a Flood, Prepare!
Elevate your utilities before a planned flood, items like: electrical panels, switches, and appliances. Move furniture and valuables to a safe place. Store documents like birth certificates, passports and policies in a safe, dry place or security deposit box. Consider installing a water alarm, which alerts you to basement flooding. Create an emergency supply kit. Kits include bottled water, clean clothes, rain gear, food, flashlights, tools, first aid supplies and are suggested to have at least 3 days’ worth of supplies.
Avoid floodwaters. Streams less than one foot deep can be strong enough to pick people up. Cars should especially avoid waters, to prevent hydroplaning or stalling. If your car is flooding with water, leave the car and seek higher ground. In the event of seeking higher ground in your home, do not go to your attic, as you can become trapped, opt instead for the rooftop and signal for help from there.
If You Experience Damage
If your home floods, you should immediately document the extent of damage using photos, videos and written documentation. Then, file a claim with your flood insurance provider through your agent or directly. Take note of your claim number or other information provided by the company.
When you’re cleaning out after a flood, here are a few things to consider:
- How bad is the flood? Is it a continuous rain, a pipe break, or does it come in waves? Understanding the source behind the water can help you determine your next steps.
- What is my community suggesting we do? Often, for larger floods that encompass a community, the town or county will put out guidelines on what to do and what to avoid.
- How has the flood affected my area? Knowing the sheer volume of flooding can help you plan for: traffic troubles, flooded streets and changes to your usual routine. Some floods may also affect telephone or power wires. Never drive over broken poles, and do not attempt to move any stray wire. They could still be active and should be avoided at all costs.
Listen to authorities who can advise when it is safe to return home, that is when the real clean up begins. During the clean-up, wear safety gear like masks, gloves and boots. This can help protect you from contaminated waters, broken glass, and displaced animals such as snakes. Dehumidifiers, if you have electric, can reduce the overall moisture in the home. Consider helping family, neighbors and local business owners, supplies often run low in critical areas, so sharing with your neighbors may be a kind gesture towards restoring the community.
If you are a homeowner, business owner or renter, you can obtain flood insurance easily and often affordably. Contact your Hometown Insurance certified flood agent via phone or email to learn more or get connected with a representative. Call 1-800-568-SAVE (7283) or email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.
We are happy to answer any flood questions!