Emergency

Plan for It: Flood Safety

Houston is no stranger to spring rainstorms and April showers. In April of 2016, the city flooded with 17 inches of rain, damaging 700 homes and taking eight lives during the Tax Day Flood. This year, don’t let the Houston rain catch you off guard. Here’s what you should do before, during, and after a flood.

Before the Storm

  • Discuss the reality of a flood with your family ahead of time to help lessen any fear, especially if you have young children.
  • Find out if your home is situated in a floodplain to assess your risk and plan accordingly.
  • Prepare an emergency kit and a household evacuation plan.
  • Make copies of your important documents to take with you during an evacuation.
  • Pay attention to your local news and stay alert for any flash flood warnings or watches.

During a Flood

  • Turn around, don’t drown. Avoid walking or driving through flood waters. Just six inches of rushing water can knock you down, and just two feet can carry your car away.
  • If stuck in your car while water rises rapidly on the road, exit your vehicle immediately and seek higher ground.
  • If evacuation is not mandatory, stay indoors and move to the highest ground or floor of your home.
  • Avoid contact with floodwater; it could be contaminated with harmful bacteria or contain dangerous animals or insects.
  • Boil your tap water for drinking until water sources have been declared safe.
  • Don’t use flooded appliances.
  • Continue following your local news or radio station for updates.

After Flooding

  • Let your loved ones know you’re safe.
  • If you evacuated, only return home once local authorities say it’s safe to go back.
  • If your house was damaged, take pictures for insurance purposes.
  • Stay away from downed power lines, especially near water.
  • Clean up with caution. Wear protective safety gear like gloves and masks to protect yourself from contaminated flood waters.
  • Keep children away from floodwater and hazards.

Houston’s devastating floods can be life-altering. Make a plan to keep your family safe before, during, and after flooding. For more information, check out our Tropical Storm & Hurricane Preparedness Checklist. Locate your nearest CHI St. Luke’s Health community emergency center ahead of time, so your family knows where to go in case of a medical emergency.

Sources:
American Red Cross | Flood Safety
National Weather Service | Flood Safety Tips and Resources
Ready.gov | Floods
Revisiting Houston’s Tax Day Floods One Year Later

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