Many Houstonians are still dealing with their insurance companies to get their homes restored following the Independence Day floods last month. With the aftermath of Harvey still fresh in our minds, it’s unfathomable to imagine what these residents whose homes have been damaged are going through. Hurricane season in Texas will hit its peak towards the end of August heading into September, so more flooding is a likely probability.
You Can’t Stop A Flood—But You Can Prepare For It
When flood conditions materialize, there is nothing you can do to stop it—but you can prepare for a flood and make sure your family stays safe. While no one wants to lose their home or possessions in the grand scheme of things, they are replaceable—a life is not. Being one of the many of Houston AC repair companies that worked on restoring HVAC systems after Harvey—we have seen the after effects of tragedies that could’ve been avoided with preparation.
So, while we normally talk about Houston AC repair and topics like that, today we are here as your neighbor. Please, we care about our neighbors, so this hurricane season—be prepared in case of imminent flooding by following a few lifesaving tips.
Airteam’sHouston Flood Preparation Guide
Be A Step Ahead: Usually, flood warnings are issued anywhere from 48 hours to a few days in advance, so you have time to prepare. Make sure your car tires are aired up, the tank is full and make yourself an emergency “GO bag.” This bag should have your insurance policy, first aid supplies, a flashlightwith extra batteries, some bottled water, meal replacement bars and some cash. You can store a change of clothes in your vehicle should you need to evacuate. Pay attention to news reports that list possible traffic flow changes or evacuation routes if it’s that serious. There is no such thing as being too prepared.
Don’t Go Outside During A Flood: The most common cause of death during a flood is residents going outside to investigate the floodwaters or trying to cross in vehicles or on foot. Water current can be very deceptive and look easy to cross—but beneath the surface often it’s a violent current that will sweep even a truck away. When it floods even just two inches, it’s hard to see large potholes, manholes without covers and other dangerous debris or wildlife such as snakes.
Be Proactive:If you live in a low-lying area prone to flooding or near the banks of one of the many bayous—play it safe and make plans to stay elsewhere. This gives you time to collect valuables and heirlooms and put them somewhere safe or take them with you. If storing in your home, place them somewhere high and in watertight containers such as Ziploc bags. Electronics and other moisture sensitive items can always be covered by flood insurance, so don’t waste valuable time with replaceable items.
Get To Higher Ground: If for whatever reason you were not able to get out and the floodwaters begin to rise and threaten to breach your home— turn off the electricity and move your family to the highest spot possible. If you live in a two-story house, get to the top floor. If in a single story get on the table or countertops until it is safe. Also,crateyour pets in a high location near you as they will be very anxious and want to be near you.
Keep Your Eyes & Ears Open: Although forecasts tend to be very reliable, when it comes to tropical storms and hurricanes, the course can change dramatically without notice as it comes closer. Invest in portable power banks to power cell phones and devices so you can keep up with current news. It doesn’t hurt to go old school and invest in a weather radio. They can last for years on the same battery and give detailed information from the National Weather Service at the touch of a button.
Call 911 Only If It’s Life-Threatening: It’s understandable to be scared about a flood and have questions but calling 911 to ask those questions will only overload the lines for people with actual life-threateningemergencies. If you feel you are in imminent danger, then by all means call, otherwise follow guides like these to ride the storm out or evacuate if necessary.
If Caught Outside: Get to highground ASAP. Don’t cross floodwaters or wade in them—they could be contaminated with gas, raw sewage or other dangerous debris and wildlife. If you can get inside somewhere to shelter then make your way in that direction but at the least get somewhere high. Keep an eye out for those that are seeking high ground as well that might not be physically able to.
If Evacuation Is Unavoidable: Remember the rule of the P’s for evacuating— People/Pets, Papers, Prescriptions, Personal Items, and Priceless Items such as heirlooms. Make sure to pay close attention to elderly persons in your home and your neighbors who are elderly. Often they do not have the physical ability or means to get out on their own and you could save their life.
What’s Next After A Flood?
In the end, if your home does take on water and your family is safe, then it is overall, a positive outcome. You just have to realize how worse it could’ve turned out. If you evacuated and returned to your home to find extensive damage, that is when you will put all the pieces back together with insurance and evaluate the repairs needed. We will have more on that in our next blog later on this month. The best defense is being prepared this hurricane season and remaining strong—Houston Strong.