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Preparing for Floods: How You Should Prepare for a Flood


Understanding how to prepare for a flood is not something we all learn in school. Unfortunately, flood preparation is largely not talked about until it’s too late. This is senseless, because flooding is one of the most common natural disasters that occur in the wake of hurricanes, cyclones, heavy rain, and tsunamis.

We believe preparing for floods is essential, so we’ve compiled some tips and best practices. Keep reading to improve your flood preparedness plans. 

1. Know the Flood Risk in Your Community

floods in small towns

The critical determinant of your risk is whether or not you live in a floodplain. You can learn this information by using flood maps. Don’t forget to investigate areas where you work, play, or travel as well.

2. Consider Purchasing Flood Insurance

flooding insurance

Flood insurance is an excellent method to rebound if your home or valuables are damaged from flooding.

Check your current insurance policy to see if you are covered for flood damage. It should be noted that most homeowners’ insurance policies do not cover flooding. Whenever feasible, purchase or renew flood insurance to help you recover from the effects of flooding.

If you are struggling with private insurance, you can look into the federal government’s National Flood Insurance Program by filling out forms on their website. It’s available to anyone living within any of the 23,000 participating communities.
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3. Preparing Your Home for a Flood: Protecting Your Property and Valuables

home improvement for floods

There are plenty of tasks you can accomplish to prepare your property and valuables for a flood. Each person’s flood preparedness routine will look different from their neighbor, but here are some things to consider.

  • Improve drainage by trimming landscaping, to ensure all rainwater flows away from your home. Clean the rain gutters on your home and the gutters along your curb to avoid an accumulation of water.

  • Put sealant around basement windows and the base of ground-level doors to prevent water seepage.

  • Ensure your furnace, air conditioner, electrical unit, and water heater are off the ground to avoid flooding. Electrical outlets, major appliances, and wiring should also be a foot above the gound, or above flood level if you’re in a known flood area.

  • Move furniture and valuables to a secure spot, such as an attic or the highest floor of your home, if flooding is expected or imminent.

  • Install a sump pump to mitigate flooding. Always make sure it has a battery backup if your power goes out.

  • Have back-flow valves installed in drains, toilets, and sinks.

Protect Your Valuables from Flooding in Waterproof Containers

  • Place important personal documents like birth certificates, passports, medical records, and insurance paperwork in a safe, dry location.

  • Original documents, valuables, and vital medical supplies should be kept in a watertight safety deposit box in an accessible area.

  • Make duplicates and digital copies of critical documents.

4. Prepare Your Emergency Bug-Out Bags

emergency flooding kit

Properly packed bug-out bags are vital for flood preparedness. We recommend packing essential emergency items into a bug-out bag so you have everything you need. 

Besides food, some other important emergency items to prepare include:

  • A flashlight and spare batteries

  • Cash and credit cards 

  • First aid supplies, as well as soap, toothpaste, toothbrushes, shampoo, antibacterial hand wipes, and other toiletry goods. To prepare for any emergency, you can get the Mini First Aid Kit by American Red Cross.

  • A multi-tool

  • Extra phone chargers and cables 

  • A spare set of keys 

  • A stove, can opener, and dining utensils for your food

5. Prepare Your Emergency Food Kit

emergency food kits

During a flood, there's a good chance you may not have access to your regular food sources. Your kitchen may have flooded, your pantry may be underwater, or you may have had to flee the area. That's when survival food is going to be critical.

We recommend stocking up on any special food items; for example, if you need dairy-free emergency food or gluten-free survival food, an emergency is the wrong time to wreck your digestion. It’s also a good idea to prepare foods like bulk freeze-dried meatFreeze-dried vs. dehydrated food both have their advantages, but both are nutritious and helpful for emergencies.

download our preparedness checklist

6. Make a Plan for Evacuating the Flood Zone

emergency plan

To prepare for a flood, you need to know the best routes in and out of your neighborhood and other parts of the city. In most cases, flood-prone communities have designated areas for emergencies.

Besides designating an evacuation route, here are some other best practices for survival planning.

  • Have a meeting spot for your family members in case you become separated.

  • Go over it all together so that everyone is on the same page.

  • Keep a list of emergency telephone numbers on display.

  • Evacuation routes, shelter plans, and flash flood plans should all be learned and practiced with your family so you know what to do and are prepared. 

7. Prepare a Pet Emergency Flood Plan

When thinking about how you'll bug out of your house or city, don't forget to include your pets in your evacuation plan. If you evacuate, your pets will need food and water, as well as any regular medications.

Remember, if you plan to evacuate to an emergency shelter, choose wisely—not all of them will allow pets. 

Some emergency responders will not interact with your pets unless they are contained, so make sure you have a pet carrier for each pet. 

If you absolutely cannot evacuate your pets, leave them some food and water and relocate them to the safest place in the house.

8. Invest in a Weather Radio That Can Be Used in an Emergency

In terms of weather-related disasters, weather alert radios are essential.

A weather alert radio with battery backup power or an emergency crank can keep you informed so you can stay safe and protected throughout the storm.

Most emergency notifications are provided through the Emergency Alert System (EAS) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio. We also recommend listening to local alert systems for additional emergency information.


Final Thoughts: The Importance of Being Prepared for a Flood 

Flooding is the nation’s most common and costly natural disaster. One inch of floodwater can cause upwards of $25,000 in damages. That’s why it’s essential to design an effective flood preparedness plan. 

Valley Food Storage is here to help. Visit our website today to speak with one of our product experts about the emergency food you require to prepare for the unexpected.