Home #preparedness is a must when your community is prone to flooding. In order to survive a flood well, there are several things that you can easily have on hand to be ready. Further, there are some attitudes that will help you prepare your family before disaster strikes.
Our own family’s recent flood crisis brought this to light…
I found myself trying to walk across my back field to speak to my neighbor at the fence, when I stepped on what I thought was solid ground, only to find myself knee-deep in quicksand. Fortunately, it wasn’t too deep and it took taking my foot and leg out of my boot, pulling it out of the sucking mud, and crawling (yes, crawling) to safety. Thank God I wasn’t in the middle of a jungle…
This occurred in the Texas grassland in my goat and horse pasture, which had obviously been flooded due to just the beginning of a major flood in our area. Things dried up after that, only to be saturated with rain water again, with a record-breaking flood in our part of Texas. And it wasn’t even hurricane season yet.
And that is how my goat got stuck around a cactus….
Yep. That is Texas for you. You never mind a cactus until your goat, which is tied to a super long rope (yes, he is a male goat, and no, he isn’t castrated), and wraps himself around the cactus during the storm in the night instead of going into his shelter. I don’t think he is really that smart, but we affectionately call him Buddy, because my boys decided that was a good name for him.:-) This is the goat and his offending cactus, now removed.
Well, Mama (me) put on her rain/work boots that morning, easing my way out to the goat and cactus, poking the ground with a stick to find out where I could actually step. But, there was only quicksand around the goat, and his rope was wrapped around the cactus. I messaged everyone I could for help, only to find no one to help, except Jesus. So, while I prayed and asked some more, God dried up the sand enough so I could carefully step out and unwrap my goat from the cactus and get him to safety, before the next flash flood.
While we are not on a flood plain, the lesson was learned.
Be prepared for a flood.
There are several things you must do as a responsible citizen in a flood-prone area. This was driven home to me when I spoke with someone who wasn’t from our area and had just moved to our area in the past week. The river hadn’t risen yet, but there were flash floods in low water crossings and exit ramps with poor drainage. Even four feet of water, in a low water crossing can carry your car out into a fast-moving stream. Yes, even big trucks and SUVs.
So, taking things seriously when flash flooding occurs is first, but when the rivers and streams begin to rise over their banks, a whole other set of challenges rise.
Turn around. Don’t Drown.
If there is water over a crossing and it looks like you can make it through a flowing stream, don’t do it. Flash floods are dangerous, particularly if your area has experience a lot rain. People who cross low water crossings in even 4 inches of water have drowned. Even if you are blessed and get out, you will probably lose your car, and barely escape safely with your life. Even large trucks and SUVs are not immune.
Make sure you have access to the weather.
Whether you have a smart phone with a weather app (NOAA does have one, which is really helpful), you may not be prepared if you lose electricity and cannot charge your phone. Worse, you may not have any phone service if a flood wipes out the local phone towers. Having access to a battery-operated radio is best if there is any risk of losing phone service or electricity.
Secure your animals
Typically, if your household pets are with you, they will find shelter and safety within your home, and your family. However, if you live in a flood plain or near one, securing your livestock, especially, can become an important task. Herds of animals have been wiped out because they were trapped by water and no one could rescue them. Getting them to higher ground is important.
How to survive a flood.
I learned how to be prepared for an emergency through my homemaking. My pantry is stocked (even the animals have food). I did need new batteries for some of my flashlights, but I had two in good working condition. I have candles and lighters. I always have natural remedies on hand for any illness or minor boo-boos. But, if you are planning for hurricane season, flash floods or winter storms, there are some handy items to keep your family provided for.
While you may have access to an outdoor grill or a wood-burning stove in your home, canned goods are great if the electricity goes out. So are jars of peanut or nut butter and jelly if you like.
Frozen bread or tortillas
In Texas, we like flour tortillas. But, whether it is a few packages or loaves of bread, even store-bought, stick them in the freezer to pull out. If your electricity goes out for a day or more, these are easy to defrost and good nutrition.
For us, this is a little tricky, but even making an open campfire (if you live in a location where you can do this, check your zoning laws), can help you make meals from your freezer when the electricity goes out.
Some are better about this than others, but during our flood, I realized I was out of D batteries! We managed, but even if it means keeping a stock from the Dollar Tree, a stockpile of batteries always goes a long way.
If you have animals, you know, keep extra rope on hand. If I had had an extra hand with my goat, rope could have helped pull him out of his mess. Or, you could use rope to make an extra clothes line or shelter for your misplaced animals.
I don’t know about you, but I love candles! I buy several from Dollar Tree at a time, just to keep on hand (and those handy lighters too). You may not want to use your decorative candles for an emergency, but you can certainly have several on hand for when the lights go out.
This probably goes without saying, but in a flood crisis, the mosquitoes just breed. Whether it is your natural insect repellent, or store-bought, keep plenty of it on hand.
This may be necessary if you lose your electricity and need to refrigerate food or medications. My son has growth hormone injections which need to be kept refrigerated, but if you need assistance with special medications, you can contact the local Red Cross for storage assistance.
Water and other drinks
My son loves those drink flavor mixes, which are expensive, and sometimes, he just won’t drink water. But, flavored drink mixes, or even stevia packets (which I buy from Dollar Tree)) help him drink water. If you are without electricity, hydration is really important! Even bottles of water help everyone to drink the water they need. Making sure you have water jugs stored away is also important, as I have seen shelves cleared of water during an oncoming tropical storm from a leftover hurricane. I keep an Igloo of water in my pantry for just such emergencies.
A clothes line
A clothes line isn’t just for doing the laundry, although, you may have to wash your clothes too. But, draping wet clothes, blankets and other coverings, helps air dry items after the storm is gone, or in between storms, as in our case.
A shovel can go a long way in wet weather. It can help you dig if you need to. Or, it can kill a snake driven out of its home. Either way, a shovel is a good thing to have if you live on any size property.
Most think of this when you live on the coast with hurricane season, however, if a storm comes along and rips a hole in something, you at least have one sheet of plywood to nail over it. While a tarp may work if there is no more rain or wind, a piece of plywood will do better if it storms again.
If you live #offgrid, this may be obvious all the time, but if the gas station is around the corner, such as where we live, you may not think about it. But, several years ago when a hurricane hit the Houston, Texas area, everyone and their parents, grandparents, cousins, aunties and uncles all drove up the road to our small town. Guess what we ran out of? It wasn’t yet storming in our location, but many had to leave a large metorpolitan area.
Plus, as you know, some of the gas does come from the offshore rigs off Houston. The rigs were shut down in the storm, of course, and it took a few weeks to get them up and running, but the point was, one hurricane in the right area can create a problem for everyone. Fill your tank before things really hit hard. Even the cities run out of gas when everyone is trying to obey evacuation orders and leave.
Having cash on hand may seem like a minor issue in our modern cashless society, but if the electricity goes out for days and you need milk or bread, then, well, you will be flat out of luck. Plus, as in the Houston example, if everyone is in need (because they aren’t prepared), then the cash machines run out of cash. It does happen.
Many years ago, I was in a town in Georgia and we had a serious flood and lost our water for two weeks. The National Guard trucked in water and as citizens, we had to take our containers while they filled them with water. That was for bathing, eating, and running the toilet.
Bleach is not all that natural, but when you are using buckets of water to run your indoor toilet, you must have bleach to keep things sanitary. Plus, when the water comes back on, you end up with quite a mess—and unsanitary conditions. I don’t use bleach around my house much, but I do like to keep a jug just in case.
Safety first is always important, but during a natural disaster, home #preparedness goes a long way. I personally believe that it is fool-hardy to not get out of the way of an oncoming hurricane, but I have family who cover their windows and stock up waiting through the storm. Sometimes you can wait through a bad weather crisis, other times, it is your only option, and still other times, you have to temporarily leave your home.
What do you always have on hand for bad weather or natural disasters?