You’ve likely heard in the news that this year’s spring flooding is the worst in a hundred years – all over North America.
So far, record-high flooding has caused emergency declarations in Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota, Ontario, Quebec, and New Brunswick. More declarations in other regions are likely as the snow melt continues in the north.
In the US, the Missouri and the Mississippi have both breached their banks, flooding out towns and making everything uninhabitable:
In Canada, the St John’s and the Ottawa have also breached. The Ottawa is beginning to threaten the downtown area of Canada’s Capital.
This flooding didn’t happen slowly either, according to the NY Times
it happened at blinding speed, with waters reaching 10ft above sea-level (or higher) in a few days in many locations. This flooding is the result of both heavy rainfall and a winter of very heavy snowfall in the north. As the snow melts, if water has to go somewhere. The ground is already saturated and heavy rainfall is only making things worse.
What does this mean to you? It means you should always be prepared to leave town at a moments notice. The river might be your city’s source of life, the cradle of it’s civilization, but that river can turn against you in a moments notice and no amount of sandbags will hold back this destructive force.
When a river floods its banks, it not only can flood homes, roads, and fields, but the damage can be felt for years afterwards. Water systems can become contaminated as run-off floods into the system without the needed controls. The flooding can, and does, overwhelm local emergency officials and organizations, leaving families fending for themselves.
Flooding Survival Tips
Always have an Emergency Survival Kit if you’re in an area in danger of flooding. There are multiple types of kits designed to service singular or multiple people. You can also prepare your own. Either way, have one ready to go at all times, stored in a safe, dry place, and know what’s in the kit.
Always be aware that flash flooding can happen. Flash flooding is incredibly dangerous given the ridiculous amount of force that much water produces. If flash flooding is occurring, get your emergency kit and get to high ground now. Do NOT wait.
Stay out of the water! Not only is the water likely contaminated with all kids of bacteria, garbage, and god know what else, but the currents are now totally unpredictable and could sweep you away. Don’t think you’ll be able to fight the current – you can’t, it’s too strong. And don’t let your children anywhere near the water. With every flood a few children always get swept away because parents weren’t watching them. Children don’t understand the sheer power than a flooding river contains. It’s not a swimming pool.
Don’t attempt to drive through the water. Rushing water can absolutely carry away a vehicle, even a large pickup or SUV. Don’t risk it.
After the Flood
Don’t drink the tap water. You need to be absolutely sure that the water systems are safe again. Listen to local news and officials for the ‘all-clear’ before drinking anything. Use bottled water or Water Purification Methods and avoid getting sick, or worse.
Avoid floodwaters! Even if the water has receded, you don’t know what’s in that water. It could be poisoned with sewage, it could be electrified from downed power lines, it could still have a vicious current just beneath the surface. Avoid it.
When the flood waters have receded, be aware that structures and roads may be compromised. Be very careful re-entering buildings and driving.
Clean and disinfect anything that got wet. Everything. Anything left over from floodwaters may be chock full of chemicals and bacteria.
Nothing is better than being prepared
As if every survival situation, the best thing you can do is be prepared for it. Scrambling for supplies and resources after the disaster has already begun is an excellent way to ensure that you won’t have anything you’ll need.
Don’t be that guy, be ready. Don’t be part of the zombie horde at Wal-Mart and Canadian Tire tearing everything off the shelves.