If you’re located in the many floodplains across Montgomery County, Texas, you need to know just what to do when the waters start rising. With that knowledge, you can keep your family, pets, and home as safe as possible and get help right when you need it. To help you get started, here are several tips on preparing for a flood.
Create an Emergency Kit
When your area starts to flood, you may lose power, lights, and access to food and water. For that reason, you should have an emergency kit on hand that includes:
- Three days’ worth of non-perishable food and fresh water for each person and pet
- Flashlights with extra batteries
- Space blankets and body warmers
- First aid kit with wound care items, over-the-counter medications, and prescriptions
- Copies of all important documents, including IDs and insurance policies
- A waterproof container with matches inside
- Hand sanitizer
- Garbage bags
Put all these items in a waterproof tote that you can grab and put in the trunk of your vehicle if you need to evacuate. Keep a smaller emergency kit in every vehicle as well for those who get caught outside the house during a flood.
Beyond all that, make sure to put a local map into the kit with local evacuation routes marked if possible. Also, mark a meeting place to wait at in case your household gets split up during the evacuation. It’s also helpful to designate someone who lives in a different state as your main point of contact, so you can all check in once you get somewhere safe.
Be sure to go over your evacuation and shelter-in-place plans with everyone in the family. Remember to discuss the importance of never driving or walking through flood waters even if it’s just a few inches deep. Also, let them know to stay off bridges and away from overpasses, power lines, and tall trees.
Reinforce Your Home
If you live in a flood zone, you can potentially limit the damage to your home by:
- Putting your furnace, air conditioner, and water heater on elevated platforms
- Installing the electrical panel far above the flood line
- Put check valves in the sewer traps to keep drains from backing up with floodwater
- Seal all the walls in your basement to keep water from coming through the cracks
You will also need to plan to reinforce the outside of your home with sandbags when flood warnings come through. Start this process as early as possible since it takes at least one hour for two people to fill up 100 sandbags and line them up around the house. Each 100 sandbags will create a one-foot-tall wall that spans 20 feet in length.
Watch Weather Reports
Being well-informed is your best defense against getting caught off guard by flooding in your area. You can watch the local news or check online to view the weather reports and see storm warnings.
In addition, install the Montgomery County Community Preparedness App to get timely warnings about floods and other severe weather events. You can also store your family emergency plan in the app and double-check your emergency supplies with their helpful list.
You can even check the app for the latest evacuation maps and see if any routes have changed before you leave the house. The app will even let you know where to find emergency shelters and other services.
Know When to Call for Help
You should always feel free to call 9-1-1 for help if you are stuck in a flooded area without food, water, or other basic necessities. Also, don’t hesitate to call if you’re injured or ill and cannot access the hospital on your own. In addition, if you find downed power lines, washed out roads and bridges, or people in distress, call to let your emergency services team know. They will instruct you on what to do and send out emergency services if needed.