Return to the Blog Home Page

5 Essential Flash Flood Safety Tips

Tuesday, November 7th, 2017

flash floodingThough tornadoes and hurricanes top the headlines, observing a few flash flood safety tips could actually save more lives. In an average year, over 125 people die in flash floods in the U.S.—nearly twice the fatalities due to tornadoes and hurricanes. A flash flood is the sudden inundation of a normally dry, low-lying area with fast moving, rapidly rising flood water. Typically, it follows intense rainfall. However, storm activity may occur miles from the area actually affected by flooding, which may remain totally dry until a surging wall of water strikes, often with only brief warning.

No region is totally immune to the damage and danger posed by this extreme weather phenomenon. Here are five flash flood safety tips to keep in mind:

  1. Know Your Risk. Find out in advance if your home is located in a low-lying area susceptible to flash flooding under certain weather circumstances. Know where the nearest higher ground is located and the safest, most direct route to reach it.
  2. Get Ready To Go. If a flash flood watch is posted by the National Weather Service, prepare to evacuate. Remaining at home will not be a safe option in most cases. Stay tuned to local media and/or NOAA emergency radios for updates.
  3. Act Fast. If a flash flood warning is announced, evacuate to higher ground without delay. You do not have time to make efforts to preserve property or possessions.
  4. “Turn Around, Don’t Drown.” During evacuation, do not drive or walk through flood water. The current generated by a flash flood only two feet deep will float most vehicles off the road. If you are on foot, be aware that just six inches of swift-flowing flood water can knock you down.
  5. Stay Away Until It’s Safe. A flash flood may occur in a series of surges. Just because water temporarily recedes doesn’t mean it’s safe to return home yet. Wait until an official “All Clear” is issued by authorities before returning to low-lying areas.


Hurricane Season Is Coming – Protect Your Home From Flooding!

Tuesday, September 5th, 2017

flooded houseTo protect your home from flooding during hurricane season, you need to begin now. Hurricanes pose a double-whammy of water damage risk. Extremely heavy rainfall for a prolonged period is often associated with hurricanes, particularly as the storm front tends to stall after it makes landfall. The other, more devastating potential is a storm surge. This fast-rising “instant flood” driven by high winds pushes a wall of ocean water as far as 10 miles or more inland.

Most experts agree: By the time a hurricane watch is officially issued, it’s already too late to begin meaningful preparations to protect your home from flooding. While there’s still time, here are some suggestions to reduce the risks now:

  • Landscape accordingly. The contour of your landscaping should divert flood water away from the home on all sides. Also, soil type matters. Porous ground allows water to soak in before it inundates your home versus clay-like soil that resists absorption.
  • Get a sump pump. Hydrostatic pressure from deep water in a flooded basement can destroy the foundation. A sump pump with back-up battery power (assume that utility power will be interrupted) can remove water as it arrives, preventing major damage.
  • Install sewage backflow prevention valves. When the municipal sewage system is swamped during a hurricane, sewage often flows backwards, flooding houses connected to the system. A backflow valve releases reflux into your yard, preventing interior flooding.
  • Protect major entry points. Install storm windows or have 3/4-inch plywood already cut to size and pre-drilled to cover all windows. Also, get a hurricane-resistant garage door. A blown-out garage door can give heavy, wind-blown rain access to the interior of your home and expedite flooding.
  • Elevate critical systems. In hurricane risk zones, the main electrical panel, HVAC systems and water heater should not be in a basement. Relocate to an upper floor to prevent damage.
  • Add flood vents. Automatic flood vents allow moving floodwater to freely flow into and out of the crawl space under the house, reducing damaging pressure against the structure.

For more about effective measures to protect your home from flooding, contact Rytech, Inc.

Safety Tips to Keep Homeowners Nationwide Safe From Flash Floods

Wednesday, June 25th, 2014

flassh flood safety tipsBecause the potential for flooding isn’t limited to any specific part of the country, flash flood safety tips can be useful anywhere. Flash flooding is possible wherever a large volume of rain falls in a short period of time, overwhelming existing drainage systems. Flash flooding may occur up to six hours after the storm that triggered it and is most common in low-lying areas close to rivers or streams that may overflow under conditions of extreme rainfall or rapid snow melt. A flash flood can jeopardize lives and cause severe property damage. It often strikes so fast that official warnings may come too late.

Here are a few flash flood safety tips to keep in mind if you live in an area that may be affected:

Before a Flood

  • Determine whether nearby streams, drainage systems, canyons or other geographical features are likely to flood.
  • If a flash flood seems imminent, move to higher ground without waiting for official alerts or instructions.

If Evacuation Is Ordered

  • Close up and lock your home. If time permits, bring outdoor possessions like furniture indoors and move important items to an upper floor.
  • Turn off the electricity at the main panel and turn off the main water supply valve. Unplug major appliances if it is safe to do so.

During Evacuation

  • Don’t walk through moving water or drive through flooded areas.
  • Don’t camp along rivers, streams or drainage channels.

After the Flood

  • Return home only after authorities confirm that the area is safe.
  • Once home, realize that a flooded house may present many hazards. Be aware of safety issues before re-entering the home.
  • Remain alert to warnings of additional flooding that may occur.

For more flash flood safety tips and information on professional water damage recovery, contact Rytech.

Image via