The recent flooding that took place here in the Greater St. Louis region and Metro East St. Louis area is nothing short of historic. Rivers everywhere were filled to the very top like the Mississippi or crested over like the Kaskaskia River, flooding plains, roads, and even homes around them. Even stretches of major highways were shut down for days, and many lost everything that they had.
When it comes to disasters, we don’t typically think about flooding here in St. Louis, but, as we saw this past week, it is an occurrence that certainly needs to be thought about and planned for. Follow these safety tips below to make sure that you and your loved ones are safe the next time a flood begins.
Before the Flood
*First and foremost, avoid building property in a known floodplain. If you are looking for a new home, avoid looking at properties built in floodplains.
*Seal the walls in your basement with waterproofing compounds. This will help you avoid any seepage that may occur when a flood happens.
*If a flood might occur in your area, make sure that you keep up with the news for important information frequently.
*Remember the difference between a flood watch and a flood warning. Just like with tornadoes, a watch means that flooding is possible, and a warning means that flooding is happening or will happen soon.
When a Flood Is About to Happen
*Prepare yourself by packing the most important items in a bag, should you need to evacuate. Include bottles of water, a flashlight with fresh batteries, and any medication that you may need.
*Be ready to evacuate should you be advised to do so. Make sure to turn off the utilities at the main switch, and disconnect your electrical appliances.
During a Flood
*Stay away from moving water. Don’t even attempt to walk through it. It might not seem like a lot, but as little as 6 inches of moving water can make you fall. If you must walk through the water, walk in the areas in which the water isn’t moving if you can. Grab a stick to help you check the firmness of the ground before you.
*Refrain from touching any electrical equipment if you are wet or if you or the equipment is standing in water.
*Do not drive through floodwaters! There were a few people who attempted to do this during last month’s flood, and they needed assistance to help them get out of their cars before they were swept away. If you see standing water on the roads, remember to turn around, don’t drown!
After a Flood
*Listen for the “all clear” from the news reports as to whether your community’s water supply is safe to drink. Stay away from floodwaters as they may be contaminated by gasoline, oil, and even raw sewage. Floodwaters may also be hiding downed powered lines.
*Be careful of roads that have been flooded. These roads, which were saturated with water, may have weakened and could very well collapse under your car’s weight.
*Return to your home only when the authorities indicate that conditions are safe to do so. Clean and disinfect everything that the floodwaters touched, and keep out of any buildings that are still surrounded by floodwaters.
Flooding can be a very serious problem, and being unprepared can be incredibly costly. Make sure that your home’s insurance is up-to-date by contacting your insurance agent at Madison Mutual at 1-800-766-MMIC. You can learn more about how we can cover you and what matters the most to you by visiting www.madisonmutual.com.