KANSAS CITY, Mo.— As the Missouri and North Platte Rivers continue to be in various levels of flood, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) urges residents to continue making preparations for more possible flooding.
Being prepared and monitoring flood conditions allow individuals more time to react to quickly rising water. Sometimes people perceive a river or stream to be at a safe distance or think rain events are occurring too far away to impact them, however, as evident by this year's flooding, events happening many miles away can have a significant impact on local waterways and flood levels. High water levels and the longevity of the flood could continue to cause federal and non-federal levees to fail or be overtopped and additional heavy rainfall could cause rivers to rise. The message is clear, stay alert about how the levees or dams near you are holding up as flooding continues and make flood preparations today to help ensure safety and security tomorrow.
Ask yourself: Is your home prepared? Do you have the supplies you need to take care of yourself and family for at least three days?
Protect your home
A few inches of water in your home can cost tens of thousands of dollars to repair.
- In situations where only a few inches of water, or minor seepage is expected to affect your home, elevate the furnace, water heater and electric panel.
- Consider installing "check valves" to prevent flood water from backing up into the drains of your home.
- Anchor any fuel tanks. An unanchored tank in your home can be torn free by floodwaters and the broken supply line can contaminate your home. An unanchored tank outside can be swept downstream and damage other houses.
- Make sure your sump pump is working and then install a battery-operated backup, in case of a power failure. Installing a water alarm will also let you know if water is accumulating in your basement.
- If feasible, construct barriers to stop floodwater from entering the building and seal walls in basements with waterproofing compounds.
- On a case-by-case basis, flood insurance may reimburse for up to $1000 in costs accrued while taking precautions to protect a property from imminent danger of flood damage. For instance, purchasing or making sandbags, or moving a "movable home" out of harm's way, may be reimbursable. For more information, consult your flood insurance agent.
- If you must prepare to evacuate, move essential items to the highest floor. More tips http://m.fema.gov.
Individual and family preparedness
- Make a kit. Keep emergency supplies on hand, such as non-perishable food, water, medicine, maps, a flashlight (with batteries stored separately), NOAA weather radio with extra batteries stored separately, dust mask and a first-aid kit. Get more information when making an emergency kit at http://www.ready.gov/america/getakit/index.html.
- Store important family documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account records in a waterproof, portable container.
Create a Plan
Create a plan for what you would do during an emergency and discuss it with your family because you may not be together when the floodwaters rise.
- Ask an out-of-state relative or friend to be the "family contact" in case your family is separated during a flood. Make sure everyone in your family knows the name, address, and phone number of this contact person.
- Get more information about how to create an emergency plan at http://www.ready.gov/america/makeaplan/index.html.