While they can be common, floods are among the most dangerous and structurally damaging natural disasters. Flash floods are even worse due to their speed and the amount of water involved that catches families and businesses off guard.
Every summer, heavy storms and even hurricanes result in flash floods which can leave hundreds or thousands without power, jobs, food and more. While this does sound scary, there are steps that can be taken to prepare in advance so you can protect your home and belongings in case it does affect your area.
About Flash Floods
When flash flooding occurs, saturated or very dry soil does not absorb heavy rain, causing it to sit on the surface and accumulate into a flood. This can result in a high intensity flow of water, especially when there are multiple storms in the same area.
When large amounts of water quickly gather into the same area, it takes debris with it and can even cause mudslides, which can sweep people off their feet. Ultimately, flash floods have the power to take lives, houses, roads, and property.
How to Prepare for a Flash Flood
In many some cases, flash floods can happen with little to no warning, especially for those living near rivers, lakes, and the ocean. But there are steps you can take to limit the damage to your home or business as well as protect your family.
- Stockpile emergency building materials, including nails, hammer, lumber, saw, pry bar, sand, shovels, sand bags, plywood and plastic sheeting.
- Develop an emergency plan with your family and determine where everyone will go if they must leave the house.
- Download an app for flood related warnings and tips, or for a general weather alert.
- Install check valves within sewer traps to prevent flood water from clogging your home’s drains.
- Seal all basement walls with waterproofing compounds to prevent any seepage through cracks.
- Raise your water heater, furnace, and electric panel to higher grounds if they are at risk of flooding.
- Purchase a battery-powered NOAA Weather Radio with a tone-alert to receive updated weather alerts.
- Keep all insurance policies in safe space to prevent flood damage.
- Discuss your insurance options with your agent as flood insurance is not covered under homeowner’s insurance. Although if you do decide to purchase additional coverage, keep in mind it will not take effect until 30 days later.
- If you are considering purchasing a home or building, do so in an elevated foundation and not in a flood plain to prevent the water from draining into your home.
- If possible, build flood barriers using sandbags to prevent floodwater from seeping into your home.
What to Do During a Flood
If you have received a warning for a flash flood in your area, be sure to take the following steps as they can prevent significant damage to your home and protect your family.
- Turn on the battery-powered NOAA Weather Radio to stay updated with all updates from the weather service.
- Take note that a flash flood can certainly occur in your area and move to higher ground right away if needed. Don’t wait for instructions to do so.
- Locate all drainage channels, canyons, and streams to determine where floods are most likely to begin. They will often start here without warnings like heavy rain or rain clouds.
Prepare to evacuate if necessary by taking the following steps:
- Turn off all utilities using the main water shutoff switch and circuit board in your home or building. Disconnect all appliances and never touch electrical equipment when standing in water.
- Secure your home by bringing in outdoor furniture and moving valuable items to high areas.
After a Flood
If your home has already been flooded, keep your head up! Know that damaged belongings can always be replaced but loved ones cannot. Be sure to take the following steps after a flood.
- Emergency workers will be helping flood victims. Contact them if you need assistance or help them by staying off the road and out of the way.
- Avoid all moving water.
- Avoid damaged areas unless the police, fire department or relief organization has specifically requested your help.
- Only return home when the authorities have determined it is safe to do so.
- Stay out of any building that has been affected by floodwaters.
- Even if a building doesn’t seem damaged, always use extreme caution as there may be hidden damage, particularly in the building’s foundation.
- Roads may be cut off if they have been damaged or flooded. Others will be open with barricades used for protection. Be sure to follow the signs and find another way if the road is closed.
- Remain on firm ground. Water as shallow as 6 inches is enough to sweep people off their feet. Standing water can also be electrically charged from downed or underground power lines.
- Keep in mind that floodwaters will cause erosion to roads and sidewalks. They can also hide broken glass, animals, and biohazards. This is why it’s important to stay away from floodwaters whenever possible.
Flood Damage Restoration
As you can see, flash floods are disastrous and dangerous as they claim lives, properties, and belongings every year. While there are steps that can be taken to prevent this from occurring, you can never stop Mother Nature. But you can always repair what was destroyed, and even save time and money in the process by reacting quickly.
For those living in the Phoenix, AZ area, ServiceMaster All Care Restoration is available 24/7 to respond with flood and water damage restoration services for homes and buildings that were devastated from flash floods. Our technicians will respond right away with emergency water extraction equipment to remove all standing water while repairing your building structure to its original condition.
We will also prevent mold growth in the process by applying anti-microbials to eliminate bacteria and mold spores. Finally, we will remove any musty odors caused by the water or flood damage using powerful hydroxyl and ozone equipment.
After the service, we will work with your insurance adjuster during the claims process to allow for additional peace of mind.
Don’t hesitate to contact ServiceMaster All Care Restoration at (623) 486-0700 for emergency flood and water damage restoration services in the Phoenix, AZ area. We are available 24/7.