WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — Flooding can strike at any time of the year.
Sometimes there is ample warning giving communities time to prepare or evacuate. Other times as we have seen in Kansas, flash flooding can provide little to no notice.
Here are steps that you can take to prepare yourself, your family, and your home should you encounter flooding.
Know your flooding risks
First and foremost, know the risks to your home, the roads you travel, your school or workplace. Are they in a floodplain? If you are unsure, you can check with this FEMA map system. Purchase flood insurance for your home. Most home insurance policies do not cover flooding, especially homes in flood plains. Also, the policies take 30 days to go into effect, so you must have them in place well before flooding.
Have a plan
With all severe weather events, you need to have a plan. For example, where will you evacuate or take shelter if you can’t at your home? Who will be the point of contact for your family and friends?
Have an emergency kit
Your emergency kit should contain enough food, water, and medicine to last at least three days. You may not have access to clean water, refrigeration, or a cooking heat source, so you want non-perishable food. In addition, it should have battery operated radio, either a weather alert or AM/FM radio, with backup batteries, a flashlight, charging cables, and a portable charger for any cell phones, blankets, comfortable shoes or rubber boots, a first aid kit, gloves, a whistle to alert rescuers should you be trapped, and if room, a change of clothes. These can be packed into individual backpacks for each family member or one large pack or container for which a single family member can be responsible.
One of the most important ways to keep you and your family safe from potential flooding and severe weather is to know what is happening with the weather. Watch KSN for the daily forecasts from Storm Track 3, or go to KSN.com/Weather, or download the Storm Track 3 weather app. The app provides you not only with current conditions for where you are, but the daily and hour-by-hour forecast, interactive radar, and real-time severe weather alerts. You can set it for other locations if you are traveling out of town or out of state. It is available for both Apple iOS and Android on the Google Play Store.
Prepare your home
If you have time and access to sandbags, you can use them to help protect your home from floodwaters. However, filling sandbags can be a slow process, so do so only if you have plenty of time in advance. Have a professional plumber install check valves if they are not installed already in your plumbing. It will prevent flood waters from backing up in the drains in your home. Have a sump pump and make sure it is in good working order. Consider adding an additional pump. Make sure your circuit breakers are properly labeled.
Pack in advance
You may have to go at a moment’s notice, so make sure you and your family are packed. That includes your pets, making sure you have food and supplies for them, along with any crates, collars, and leashes. You may only have minutes to respond to flooding and severe weather. Make sure your electronics you may need, like cell phones, are fully charged and ready to go.
Don’t wait for any evacuation orders because you may not get them, or it may be too late at that point to safely get out of the flood zone. Most importantly, if there is water over the roadway, DO NOT CROSS. It only takes a few inches of moving water to lift your vehicle off of the road. There is also no way to safely judge just how deep the water may be or if the road underneath still exists. Remember: Turn Around, Don’t Drown.