Floods are perhaps the deadliest and most destructive of all natural disasters. The rush of water can destroy buildings, wash away cars and people in a matter of minutes. You only need to see a few videos of Tsunamis to see what can happen in the extreme cases, and flash floods happen all the time in the US.
Hard to believe but it only takes a foot of moving water to cause massive structural and environmental damage.
Have an escape route planned ahead of time. Evacuation can be difficult if not impossible in some cases. Shelter may be hard to find or to get to. If you live in a flood prone area you should have a very well thought out evacuation plan and two backup plans for both home, work, and school.
Find the local flood areas where you live. Have a list of the available shelters in and outside of your immediate area and keep a printout in each vehicle and with your emergency kits.
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Access to Fresh Water
Water sources will quickly become contaminated, and floodwaters will often be a toxic soup of chemicals and bacteriological wastes. Having fresh water available to drink and take with you is a top priority.
If you need to filter water for drinking, you will need more than just a Sawyer or Lifestraw because there will be chemicals in the water as well. Berkey filters can remove many, but not all chemical contaminants however what they do remove is amazing, read it here. You can store 100 gallons of fresh water in your bathtub before the flood using a waterBOB.
Satellite Communications with Others
It is a likely chance that land-line and cellular communications will be effected if massive flooding is prevalent and in a broad area. For local communications hand-held radios are a good backup option between family members and neighbors.
Satellite communications work anywhere in the US, and can relay messages and phone conversations outside of the area. Make sure you have a backup energy system in place so you can keep them charged. Our article on Bug Out Communications will walk you through the details.
Preparing your Home
There are a few things you can do to keep your house from becoming damaged from low floodwaters:
Use a product like the Aquadam or Hydrabarrier to keep water out of the structure.Stop sewer water from coming back into the house via shower / tub drains and toilets by either installing a sewer backwater valve or inserting a Test Ball into your outgoing sewer pipe clean-out (many homes have a way to get into the pipe, look for a round PVC circle about 6" wide in the front of your home.)
Having a sump pump will help you get water out of basements and low lying areas. A dehumidifier will remove excessive moisture from the air in the home. If you want to have a boat for a backup, go for a flat bottomed one that can run in a small amount of water. An aluminum river boat or inflatable boat are your best options.
Preparing Your Bug Out Bag
The key component here is to keep the water our of your other gear and therefore off your backpack. A rain cover for your backpack isn't a bad idea, even if you aren't in a flood area. Waterproof the items in the bag by keeping them in Ziploc bags or step-up and use a Locksack bag, which are very durable and good for electronics.
If you want to go a little further, dry sacks will take you to the next level and are the best choice to hold your clothing inside your backpack. If you want to go full throttle then get a waterproof backpack from OverBoard. They make great bags.
Keeping Yourself Dry
Umbrellas are great, but if there is even a whisper of wind you are going to get wet and tie-up your hands. A high-end poncho is a better idea. Avoid the cheap plastic bag types that you find in the camping stores. Another option is are Frogg Toggs rain suits which comes in men, women's, and children's sizes.
A good pair of waders can be a lifesaver. They keep you from getting utterly soaked in water thats waist deep - if you really need to be in it. Remember, you want to avoid being in flood waters as much as possible, they can be very dangerous. Flood waters will contain biological and chemical contaminants that can make you sick. There can be very strong currents that can wash you and your car away, and cause drownings. Wild and domestic animals will be displaced and have been known to attack humans during floods.