Flood Preparation & Planning Guide

Floods are one of the most common hazards in the United States, however not all floods are alike. Some floods develop slowly, while others such a flash floods, can develop in just a few minutes and without visible signs of rain. Additionally, floods can be local, impacting a neighborhood or community, or very large, affecting entire river basins and multiple states.

Flash floods can occur within a few minutes or hours of excessive rainfall, a dam or levee failure, or a sudden release of water held by an ice jam. Flash floods often have a dangerous wall of roaring water carrying rocks, mud and other debris. Overland flooding, the most common type of flooding event typically occurs when waterways such as rivers or streams overflow their banks as a result of rainwater or a possible levee breach and cause flooding in surrounding areas. It can also occur when rainfall or snowmelt exceeds the capacity of underground pipes, or the capacity of streets and drains designed to carry flood water away from urban areas.

Be aware of flood hazards no matter where you live or work, but especially if you are in low-lying areas, near water, behind a levee or downstream from a dam. Even very small streams, gullies, creeks, culverts, dry streambeds or low-lying ground that appear harmless in dry weather can flood.

Natural disasters happen most everywhere on this earth and may often come without any warning.  If you reside in an area that is prone to natural disasters, then you have to prepare for that disaster to strike and how to deal with the disrupted state of affairs.  The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) advises that the first 72 hours after a disaster are critical.  Electricity, gas, water and telephones may not be working. In addition, public safety services such as police and fire departments may not be able to reach you immediately during a serious crisis.  Each person should be prepared to be self-sufficient - able to live without running water, electricity and/or gas, and telephones - for at least three days following a disaster.

Identifying an impending hazard and knowing what to do to protect yourself and your family will help you take effective steps to prepare beforehand and aid your recovery after the event.  Some of the things you can do to prepare for the unknown, such as assembling a supply kit and developing a family emergency plan, are the same for all types of hazards and disasters. However, each emergency is unique and knowing the actions to take for each threat will impact the life-saving decisions and preparations you make. By learning about these threats, you are preparing yourself to react in an emergency or bug out situation. This is the reality of Flood Preparation.

When it comes to self-reliance, it is all up to you. You are the end of the line and must pull your own weight. Learn your tools, learn their limits, and learn to survive THE UNKNOWN.