Why’s the Water Up to my Knees? A Flood Guide.

If you live in western Washington, you likely live near a river. Enjoy the view and don’t worry, you’ll be prepared for mother nature.

Thanks to our friends at King County for these important flood tips:

Know if you’re in a flood plane.

If you own a home, this is something that should be disclosed when you purchased. If you’re unsure, here’s King County’s mapping tool.

Assuming your home is in a flood plane, your mortgage likely stipulated you having flood insurance but, it never hurts to call your homeowner insurance agent and confirm it. Especially going into what’s shaping up to be a rather wet winter.

Have a plan.

The time to establish what your family should do in the event of a flood is now, when there’s not actually a flood.

Some tips:

  • Pull all valuables off the floor and stash them in the highest and most well ventilated location you have.
    • Make sure to have images and receipts for these items for insurance purposes.
  • Know how to evacuate any pets/family that cannot move themselves.
    • Animals in particular can be swept away in a current, if possible do not have them in water above their mid-section.
  • Know multiple routes out of your neighborhood in case one is flooded/disabled.
    • Typically the route leading away from the river along the highest road possible is your best bet.
  • Have a dedicated meeting location in case family is not all at home. Cell Phone towers can be damaged during extreme flooding so discuss this in advance.
    • Closer to your home but away from the flood plane the better. In case someone ends up evacuating on foot.
  • Have an emergency kit. All the usual suspects: water, bandages, flashlights, etc. Here’s some more suggestions

The news just said my house will likely flood tonight. Now what?

Well, at least you’ve got some prep time right? Note, these are mostly money saving tips in the event of a severe flood, do not waste time doing them in an actual emergency.

  • Turn off your gas valve.
    • Water+Gas Line = No fun.
  • Turn off circuit breaker and main electrical line.
    • Helps prevent burnouts and makes home safer to re-enter post flood.

Oh, there’s water in my house.

Don’t panic. Like most natural disasters, panicking does not help. Stick to your evacuation plan and keep these tips in mind:

  • Don’t walk, run, wade, meander, bike, or drive through flooded areas. We like King County’s saying for this:
    • Turn around. Don’t drown.
  • If your vehicle stalls in water, abandon it. You can swim. Your car? Not as much.
    • We’ve yet to see a life jacket for an F-250 or Prius.
  • If water is too deep for you to safely evacuate your home/area get to as high a point as possible with an escape route or your roof. Make sure to take as much warm clothing and supplies as you can carry up with you.

We survived a flood!

Perfect! Now here’s how to not end up a post-flood-freak-accident statistic:

  • Examine your home for structural damage before going inside.
    • If your roof is drooping in, we’d suggest not going inside. Same goes for odd crackling electrical noises outside.
  • Hire professionals to examine your home for damage.
    • It’s worth your deductible to have a professional check your gas, electrical, water, etc. Before attempting to use it.
  • Document damaged property and all water lines.
    • You’ll want pictures and documentation of this for insurance claims
  • Drain basement if needed.
    • Only 1/3 of the water per day. Draining the entire thing at once can cause severe structural damage or collapse.

Flooding is a part of life in the PNW. Preparedness = Safety, this is what insurance is for.

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