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flooding in a home

What to Do if Your Home Floods

2020 has been a record-setting year for the Atlantic hurricane season, repeatedly causing flooding conditions for the United States, here are some tips for what to do if tropical weather causes flooding in your home.

What to do if flooding occurs in your home

If you are in your home when it starts flooding you have some decisions to make quickly. Human life is always your first priority. Before you start trying to grab material things, make sure you have time to do so before rising floodwaters prevent you from getting to safety.

Preserving life is number one

The most important thing you need to do if you cannot evacuate and you are trapped inside your home is to get to the highest level. If you have an attic with adequate room, go there.

However, don’t climb into a closed attic as you may be trapped inside by rising floodwaters. Go to the second level of your home if you have one. Ready.gov says only get on your roof if it is absolutely necessary and signal for help once you are there.

What to do if you have time

If you have time to gather some things in your home before being forced to seek higher ground, do the following, but do it carefully. Know that you will not have time to save everything. Only gather urgent items. Make sure you leave yourself adequate time to evacuate.

1. Wear protective clothing

One of the first risks is electrocution. Floodsafety.com and Ready.gov recommends wearing rubber-soled boots to protect you against electric shock.

2. Take precautions against electric shock

Try to shut off the circuit breaker to your power main if possible. Do not touch the electrical equipment if it’s wet or if you’re standing in water, Ready.gov warns.

3. Gather important documents

If you have time, gather important documents and seal them in a waterproof bag or container.

4. Gather medications and first aid items

Gather all lifesaving and important medications for you, your family, and your pets. Seal them in a waterproof bag or container. You should also gather first aid items, such as bandages and pain relief medicine in case injury occurs as you escape floodwaters. If you are trapped, it could take some time until first responders can reach you.

5. Use caution moving electronics

As instructed above, try to turn off your main power first, before grabbing or touching any electronics. You risk being electrocuted if you touch electronics while the power is still on and if you are wet or standing in water.

With the power turned off, move your electronics to “high ground” if possible. This would be an attic if you have one, a second level of the home if you have one, or on the highest shelves possible in your house.

6. Avoid drinking tap water

When flooding occurs in an area, water supplies can be contaminated. Avoid drinking tap water until authorities have given the “all clear” to do so. Contaminated tap water could cause infections. Even if you have water filters on your tap or refrigerator, the sure to always keep a supply of bottled water in your home for use in emergency situations.

7. If you evacuate, do not return home until it is safe

Lastly, if flooding or the threat of flooding prompts evacuations in your area, do not return to your home until authorities deem it is safe.

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