A Homeowner’s Guide to Flooding

125 Tips to Protect Your Family and Your Property

When it comes to natural disasters, floods are the one type that can hit just about anywhere. Even in the middle of the desert, if unusual rains occur or a pipe bursts in your bathroom, your home can experience flooding. Knowing what to do in a flood to protect yourself and your property is critical.

Flooding is a serious risk. Flash flooding is the leading cause of weather-related deaths in the country. Each year, approximately 200 people are killed in flash floods. Over half of all flooding deaths are vehicle-related. In the past 20 years, 2.3 billion people have been impacted by flooding disasters, and millions more have dealt with minor floods due to sewage, burst pipes, or drainage problems. Flooding also brings serious health risks to your home and community, from bacteria in flood water to deadly mold that grows in damaged buildings and even structural damage to homes and commercial buildings.

Those statistics are frightening, but there are ways to protect your family. Thorough education about flood risk and what you can do to protect yourself and your property will help you be more confident in tackling any floods that may come your way. Whether you are at high risk for flooding near your home or simply want to be informed, this guide will give you the tools you need to navigate a flood safely and with confidence.

Understand the Risk

Flooding can happen to anyone. However, different events and problems are more of a risk for your home depending on where you live. For example, a homeowner who lives in a desert region isn't likely to experience flooding because of prolonged rain, but a burst pipe or flash flood is a potential risk. By identifying the risks in your area, you will be better able to protect your home from the potential of flooding.

Identify Different Causes of Flooding

Before you can protect your home properly from flooding, you need to be able to identify the different causes of flooding specific to your area. Here are some tips to help you identify the different causes of flooding, so you can find the potential problems that may impact your home.

·  Consider the likelihood of a heavy rain event. Some parts of the country are more prone to rain issues than others. Typically heavy rain does not cause flooding because of the rain itself, but rather because of rising waterways. Flooding can also occur when the rain falls too quickly for the ground to soak it up properly, allowing it to flow into your home. If your home does not have proper drainage around the foundation, you can experience an isolated flood after extensive rain, even if your community does not flood.

·  Weigh the risk of extreme weather events. Tsunamis, hurricanes, tornadoes, and torrential downpours can all lead to flooding. Determine the risk of these types of extreme weather events in your area.

·  Consider the impact of snowmelt. If you've had a heavy season of snow, spring can increase flood risk as that snow melts and runs off. Since the ground under the snow is still frozen, this water cannot absorb into the soil, and this water must flow into waterways. Homes in lower elevations can be flooded when this starts.

·  Understand the risk of flash flooding. Flash floods occur when the rain falls too quickly and the ground and natural drainage paths become overwhelmed. This can overflow rivers and allow fast-moving water to rush through the town unexpectedly. Flash floods typically happen quite quickly after the start of rainfall during heavy rains. If you live near drainage paths or waterways, you are at risk for flash flooding.

·  Identify any levees or dams in your area. Over 3,5000 dams in the United States are now classified as unsafe, so if you live near one, this is a serious risk. Failure of a levy or dam can instantly flood an entire community. If your home is in the flood path, you will face fast devastation. Identify any dams or levees in your area that may put your home at risk.

·  Know the risk of floods from burst pipes. Interestingly, one of the most common types of floods comes from a risk that resides in your home! If a pipe in your basement bursts, your home can quickly flood, causing damage and expense.

·  Watch for flooding from household appliances. Yes, even your appliances can cause a flood inside your home. Specifically, refrigerators, dishwashers, washing machines, water heaters, and toilets can all overflow and cause a flood.

·  Understand the risk that poor drainage causes. Heavy rains can cause flooding no matter how well drained your home is, but if you have poor drainage that routes water towards your home instead of away from it, you increase the risk significantly.

·  Check the foundation for flood-causing damage. Flaws and cracking in the home's foundation can allow groundwater and rain to enter the home through the floors when the area becomes over-saturated with water. The only protection against this is professional foundation repair.

·  Protect your home from clogged rain gutters. Rain gutters are designed to funnel rain and melting snow away from your home's roof and foundation. However, if the gutters are clogged or are not properly designed, they can actually funnel water towards these areas. Keep the rain gutters in good repair to protect your home.

·  Be aware of the risk of sewer backups. When something blocks the sewer line leading away from your home, dirty sewage water can back up into your home and cause a stinky mess.

Determining Your Home's Risk Level

In addition to identifying these risks that may be around your home, you can determine the flood risk level of your home specifically using certain tools. Here's how:

·  Search your address on the FEMA Flood Map. This interactive map allows you to search almost any address in the United States and see its expected flood risk.

·  Use Map My Risk to determine additional risk. Another online tool allowing you to search your address. This one is a bit more detailed and will provide another look at your potential flood risk.

·  Consider your home's elevation. Homes that have a higher elevation are at less risk for flooding than homes that are at low elevations. Consider your home's elevation in comparison to the homes around you to weigh your risk.

·  Look for nearby bodies of water. A creek, river, or drainage pipe near your home can make it an increased risk for flooding. If you can't find your address in the flood zone maps, look for these types of risk factors.

For more information about your flood risk, visit:

·  ReTipster: Is Your Home at Risk for Flooding? Find out in 2 Minutes or Less

·  Flood Safety: Assessing Your Flood Risk

·  FloodSmart: Defining Flood Risks

·  FEMA: Homeowners – Frequently Asked Questions About Flooding

Before Flooding Happens

No matter where you live, you can experience a flood. You need to be prepared for the risk, whether or not your home is in a high-risk area. If your home is in a flood zone, you need to take even greater precautions. Here are some guidelines to help you be prepared before flooding happens.

General Advice for Preparing for Flooding

·  Purchase flood insurance if you're eligible. You may be eligible to purchase flood insurance if your property is located in a National Flood Insurance Program participating community. You can see the status of your property through FEMA's website.

·  Place important papers up high or in a waterproof case. If your home floods, things that are located higher up are going to be safer. Place important papers on closet shelves or on the second floor of your home, rather than on the ground floor or in the basement.

·  Protect your photos. Photos can't be replaced if they get wet. Place them high to protect them in the event of a flood.

·  Talk to your family. Make sure your family knows what to do if a flood comes to your area. Talk about your plan, the protections you will have in place in your home, and where you will go if your area is flooded.

·  Practice your communication plan. Have a communication plan in place for emergencies, and practice it with your family. Know who you will contact and how to contact them in case you suffer a serious emergency. Make sure the plan includes an out-of-area contact person who everyone can touch base with in a flood event.

Preparing Your Home for Flooding

·  Elevate critical components in your home. Your electrical panels, switches, sockets, wiring, and appliances should be elevated, if possible, to minimize damage if you have a flood.

·  Waterproof the basement. If you are at high risk for flooding, consider adding waterproofing to your basement for another layer of protection.

·  Invest in a working sump pump. A sump pump is critical to prevent basement floods in minor flooding events. Invest in one, and consider a backup sump pump to keep things running even if you have a power outage.

·  Have a home inspection. Home inspections aren't just for new home purchases. Have a home inspection to help you determine whether or not your home is well prepared for a flood.

·  Keep gutters and downspouts clear. Make sure you do not allow your gutter to get full of leaves. Make sure the downspouts point away from your home and are clear. If water doesn't flow well away from your roof and foundation when it rains, you are at risk for flooding.

·  Determine if your home has proper drainage. If you're seeing puddles of water in your yard after a heavy rain, you have a flood risk. Contact a plumber or landscaper to learn more about drainage options.

·  Keep your sewer systems in good repair and add check valves. Floods from backed up sewers are some of the messiest. Keep them properly maintained, and consider installing a one-way check valve where the sewer main leaves your house to provide additional protection.

·  Shut off electrical and gas service if you know a flood is imminent. If you know a flood is likely going to hit your home, shut off the gas service and electricity. If you suspect a flood, turn off electrical power at the circuit box to those areas at highest risk, but wait to address the gas line until instructed by your local utility service.

·  Plug basement floor drains in anticipation of a flood. The floor drain can allow sewage backup and damage to the basement walls and floor.

·  Remove appliances in anticipation of flooding or elevate at least a foot above the expected water level. If you have warning that a flood may come, remove or elevate your appliances, furnace, and water heater. This will protect these costly items from water damage.

Packing Your Emergency Kit

If you are stuck at home or need to evacuate your home, an emergency kit will help take care of your family's needs until you can get back on your feet.

·  Pack an emergency kit that has all necessary medications and medical supplies to get your family through at least a week. If you are stuck at home or have to evacuate during a flood, you need to know that your family's medical needs will be met.

·  Stash enough food and water for at least three days. Your emergency supplies need to include supplies for your family to eat and drink Aim for a minimum of three days' worth of supplies, including one gallon of water per person per day. Make sure you include the necessary tools to open any cans or boxes. Rotate out the food and water every six months to ensure it stays safe.

·  Add basic toiletry and first aid supplies. Make sure you have basic toiletries, including antibacterial wipes, and first aid supplies in your emergency kit. Don't forget the toilet paper, toothbrushes and toothpaste, and feminine hygiene products. Also, pack diapers if you have babies in the family.

·  Pack some supplies for flood cleanup. You will want extra-large trash bags, rubber gloves, and disinfecting wipes to help with flood cleanup.

·  Add in some disposable eating utensils. Paper plates, plastic utensils, and napkins are all going to be important.

·  Make a copy of your keys. Make a copy of your house and car keys in case you can't get to your actual copies.

·  Include a battery-powered radio and light. You will need to be able to know what is going on outside of your home, so include a battery-powered weather radio. You will also need light if the electricity goes out, so add some powerful flashlights. Include extra batteries for all of these.

·  Remember to pack some items to alleviate stress. Comfort items for babies, toys and games for kids, and something adults can use to pass the time will make the days after a flood more bearable.

·  Add a few more items. Matches in a waterproof container, a plastic whistle to alert emergency providers, scissors, tweezers, extra clothing, durable footwear, and a blanket or sleeping bag can all help keep your family safe after a flood.

·  Store the items in one or two waterproof containers you can quickly grab. Plastic waterproof cases are a great option for an emergency kit because they are easy to grab and keep everything well contained.

·  Include copies of important documentation, such as your insurance provider and medical provider names and numbers. Make a list of all of the potential numbers and names you might need after a flood, and make sure you have the contact information ready to go.

Creating an Evacuation Plan

If your family is asked to evacuate, make sure you have a plan that is easy to follow. Here are some tips:

·  Stay aware of what local officials are asking. If an evacuation order is issued, follow the guidelines.

·  Know two to three different evacuation routes. Always have a plan B in case your preferred evacuation route is flooded. Follow recommendations from emergency providers when they are given.

·  Have a place to go. Know a safe place away from your area where you can go if you ever need to evacuate. Have a plan in place with a friend or family member that will ensure your family is safe, even when evacuation orders are sent. Also, choose a backup meeting place if the first one falls through in the event of a flood.

·  Keep your car at least half full of gas at all times. Gas stations will be out of service or overrun with customers in the event of a flood. Having a half tank of gas at all times will ensure you can get out if you need to evacuate.

·  Choose a contact person. Choose someone who lives out of your area that your family can contact after evacuating. Make sure all members of the family have the name and number, so that you can get in touch with one another after your evacuation if you are separated.

Planning for Pets

Do you have pets? Here are some tips to prepare for flooding when you have pets in the home:

·  Include pet food and medications in your emergency kit. Your pet will need to eat too, so make sure you have planned for this. Don't forget a few toys to help reduce anxiety.

·  Know that your evacuation plan includes your pets. Make sure your safe haven will welcome your pets. If not, find an emergency shelter option just outside of your main area that will allow shelter for your pets for a short period of time.

·  Put proper identification on your pets. Whether it's a microchip or a collar, make sure your pet can be identified and the contact information is current. This will help you get reunited if you are separated during a flood.

·  If possible, crate your pets while evacuating or dealing with a flood. This will help prevent a frightened animal from escaping while you are dealing with the emergency.

Planning for Children and the Elderly

If you have children at home or elderly loved ones nearby, here are some additional precautions to take in regards to flooding:

·  Give children a plan for what to do if evacuations are ordered while they are at school or away from home. Make this age-appropriate, but make sure they know what they should do to stay safe.

·  Make sure all care providers for children or elderly loved ones understand the flood plan. This will give you peace of mind when you cannot be with the ones you love during a disaster.

·  Plan extra time for helping the elderly when evacuating or preparing for a flood. Older people may have mobility concerns or need additional help to evacuate, so try to give yourself enough time. If in doubt, consider evacuating before an order is called so your elderly loved one is fully protected.

·  Pack items that will make the evacuation or time stuck at home easier to handle. Comfort items are particularly important for children and the elderly. Also, make sure the food you pack is something these family members will happily eat.

·  Help your elderly loved ones make their own plan for dealing with flooding. Many older individuals fear that they will be left behind when a flood causes evacuation. Provide reassurance that you have thought of them and their needs.

For more information about what to do before a flood strikes, visit:

·  The Charter Township of Commerce, Michigan: What to Do Before, During and After a Flood

·  Get Prepared Canada: Before a Flood

·  American Red Cross: Flood Safety

·  Emergency Essentials: What to Do Before, During, and After a Flood

·  National Geographic: Flood Safety Tips


During a Flood

Floods can hit with little warning, which is why preparation before the flood is critical. However, when a flood hits, there are additional measures to take to protect your family and your property. Being informed about what to do will help you get through the disaster safely. Here are some important ways you can stay safe as you ride out a flood.

Monitor the News

The local news or weather station will be your best protection if flood conditions are present, helping you know what is happening and how you can stay safe.

·  If a flood is pending, keep a weather radio on or turn on weather alerts on your phone. You need to know quickly if the situation is turning dangerous for your area or if evacuation orders have been sent. Make sure you have an option that does not require power in case the power goes out at your home, such as a hand crank or battery powered radio. If you are using your phone, keep several backup battery packs available to charge it.

·  If you hear a flood watch, be prepared. A watch means that weather conditions are right for flooding, but flooding has not been spotted and is not imminent. However, because flash floods can happen quickly, you may not get enough time to get the actual warning. Be very cautious when a flood watch is issued, especially when you are around water.

·  If you hear a flood warning, get out of the way. This means a flood is occurring or will occur soon. If you have time, you need to get away from the area. If you do not have time, you need to seek higher ground near your home.

Get Your Family to Safety

If you are under a flood warning, it's time to protect your home and your family. Here's how:

·  Seek high ground. For floods that come on fast, like flash floods, your evacuation goal is to find higher ground. Identify areas in your community that should be away from any flood waters, and know how to get to them from your home.

·  If you are going to evacuate, drive away from any known bodies of water or natural flow areas. Do not drive towards these, which will put your family at risk.

·  Evacuate quickly. Don't grab anything beyond your emergency kit. Save yourself, and leave your belongings behind. They can be replaced, but you cannot.

·  If you don't have time to drive to safety, climb. Climb to your rooftop or climb a tree to get above the flood waters. The higher you are, the safer.

·  Don't underestimate the power of moving water. It only takes six inches of moving water to push someone off their feet. Wading through flood waters is never safe and can lead to loss of life.

Prepare Your Home

Much of the preparation for flooding needs to happen before the flood hits, but you may have a few moments to do some last minute things. Here's what to do:

·  Lock your house and turn off utilities. Before you evacuate, turn off your utilities at the source and lock your house. This will limit the damage when you are able to return.

·  Use sandbags if you have the time. Most people can fill 12 sandbags per hour, so this is not a fast process. Only use them to protect your home if you have sufficient time. Do not put your family's lives at risk in order to protect your property.

·  If using sandbags, remember that they are only effective against low floods. If the floods will rise above two feet, you are better off finding other ways to protect your property.

·  Place sandbags properly. Stack them up to three layers high, tamp them into place, and ensure that you stagger the stacks to keep the levee as sturdy as possible.

·  If you need to stack the sandbags more than three layers high, use a pyramid configuration. The bottom level should be three times as wide as your intended height.

·  Anchor your outdoor equipment. Costly outdoor items need to be anchored so they do not float away. If you can, raise them above the expected water level.

·  Disconnect appliances. Cutting power to appliances will help prevent electrical or gas problems during the flood. If you don't have time to elevate them, at least cut off the power.

·  Do not enter flooded areas. If your basement or main floor floods, leave them. Do not enter these areas, especially if the power is still on, as you could be putting yourself at risk.

Drive Safely During Flooding

If you have the opportunity to drive to safety, take it, but keep these precautions in mind:

·  Never drive through flooded waters. You cannot tell how deep the water is, and it is likely more powerful than you think. It only takes a foot of water to cause a car to float. Two feet of water can carry away most vehicles, including large trucks or SUVs.

·  If your car stalls, abandon it and climb to safety. Most likely the engine is flooded, and you won't be able to restart it. Sitting in it puts you at risk.

·  If you end up trapped in your vehicle, get out quickly. Roll down a window slowly if you can, or use something to break the glass and exit the vehicle, swimming through the water to safety.

·  Follow posted evacuation routes, if possible. The radio or signage should tell you safe evacuation routes, which are always your best option.

·  Try to avoid bridges when the water underneath is high and fast. The flooding could weaken the structure of the bridge and wash it out with little to no warning. Try to find a different place to cross if you must cross.

For more information about what to do during a flood, visit:

·  FEMA: Protecting Your Property from Flooding

·  NRDC: 7 Ways to Flood Proof Your House

·  Get Prepared Canada: What to Do During a Flood

· The 9 Worst Things You Could Do During a Weather Emergency


After the Flood

The dangers of floods do not go away when the waters start to abate. Here are some tips to help you navigate the post-flood cleanup without undue risk to your family:

Returning Home Safely

·    Do not return home until you get the "all clear" from the local authorities. It's normal to wonder how your home is fairing, but wait until the authorities say it is safe to return or you could be putting your family at even more risk.

·    Take pictures for your insurance agent. Before you start any cleanup, take pictures. These will be necessary to get insurance coverage for your damages.

·    Leave children and pets behind. Before you return home, find somewhere safe for your children and pets to stay. A flooded home is not a safe place for them.

·    Do not force open a jammed door. The door could be supporting a portion of the home. Forcing it open could cause a structural collapse. Find another way in if possible.

·    Bring a flashlight. Chances are the power will be out, and burning candles can be dangerous. Bring battery-operated lighting.

·    Watch for debris. The flood likely stirred up quite a bit of debris, which may be hiding under mud or water. Debris is dangerous, so keep your eyes out for them as you travel back home.

·    If there is colored tape on your door, do not enter. Get more information about what damage is indicated by the tape before you enter the building, as it could be dangerous.

Safety Concerns

Flooding creates a number of safety concerns. Here are some to watch for at home:

·    Be aware of slipping hazards. The debris and ground in an area that has flooded will be slick. Wear shoes with good traction and use caution while traversing the area.

·    Check for foundation problems. Loose and missing boards, blocks, bricks, stones, or mortar are signs of water damage to a foundation. Be cautious entering a home with these.

·    Look for sagging floors. Sagging floors are wet and can collapse, so do not walk on them. If you need to walk in that area, use thick plywood panels to build a bridge. Make sure the bridge is 8 to 12 inches longer than the sagging area.

·    Be cautious of drooping ceilings. Drooping ceilings can collapse, so be cautious. Consider ripping them out to avoid an unwanted surprise.

·    Sniff for gas. If you didn't turn off your gas, you may have a leak, so pay attention to the smell of natural gas.

·    Wear personal protection before entering the home. Boots, rubber gloves, goggles, and respiratory protection will prevent you from coming into contact with mold or other contamination.

·    Watch for animals. Animals, including venomous snakes, may have taken refuge in your home. Enter carefully, and tap the floor to scare them away as you make your way through the home.

Here are some safety issues to watch for in the community:

·    Stay away from electrical hazards. If a building did not have electricity shut off, do not enter it. If you see a downed power line, do not step in any water nearby. Water quickly spreads electrical current, and you could be putting yourself at risk.

·    Stay off roads with obvious erosion. Flooding can cause serious issues for roads in your area. Stay off any roads with visible damage.

·    Be aware that some road signs may be missing. Practice safe driving on the road, even if traffic signals or signs are not present.

·    Understand that basic services may be disrupted. Don't plan to visit your favorite grocery store or gas station for supplies, as local businesses likely suffered flood damage just as you have.

·    Stay away from flood waters. Water running through town can contain human waste and other pathogens, so stay away from it.

Health Concerns After a Flood

Flooding and flood waters carry pathogens that can make you sick. Here are some of the health concerns you will need to watch for as you recover and clean up from a flood:

·    Assume that drinking water is contaminated until you've been told otherwise. This includes water in wells. Before drinking, distill the water. If using for cleaning purposes, boil and add bleach before using any water.

·    If an item is wet, it is probably contaminated. All wet items need to be sanitized or disposed of to protect your family. This includes food, furniture, clothing, and household items.

·    Protect yourself from mold. Mold is a serious risk after a flood. It can start growing within 24 hours of flood damage. Make sure to remove all drywall and insulation that was in contact with the flood waters.

·    Understand that all flood water is contaminated. Flood water can be contaminated with bacteria from sewage, harmful chemicals, and other dangers. It can make you very sick. Avoid touching it whenever possible, and never play in flood waters.

·    Be aware of the risk of CO exposure. If you're using a portable generator, camp stove, or other gas-powered device, only use it outdoors. Using it inside could lead to CO poisoning.

Cleaning up Your Property

As you clean, be aware of the risks and make sure you are taking every necessary precaution around your property. Here are some tips:

·    Contact your insurance provider as quickly as possible. It will take time to process your claim, so talk to your insurance provider as soon as you can assess the damage at your home.

·    Throw out anything that can take on water but cannot be sanitized. Don't forget cosmetics and toiletry items as well as furniture.

·    Clean hard surfaces with hot water, soap, and bleach. This will remove some of the contamination. However, if the surface is porous, it may need to be replaced.

·    Pump water out of basements slowly. Yes, you want to get the water out fast, but pumping it too quickly could lead to damage to your foundation. Aim to remove about a third of the water per day until it's all gone.

·    Avoid using appliances until they can be checked. Any gas or electric appliances or systems should remain off and disconnected until a professional can check them for signs of damage.

·    Start drying out the property as soon as it is safe to do so. The longer the water sits in your home, the greater the damage you will suffer. Aim to dry the home and everything in it within 48 hours if it's safe to do so.

·    Use fans to dry the area, but only if you do not see mold. If mold has grown, fans will spread the spores and cause it to spread. Also, wait until you get the all clear to turn the electricity back on before you start using any fans.

·    When drying out the home, open all closets and cabinets. These areas will harbor mold and moisture if they do not dry out quickly.

Recovering from Flood damage

The recovery after a serious flood takes time. Here are some tips to help you get through it:

·    Wait to replace furniture and other large items. The repairs on your home will probably take longer than you anticipate, so wait to replace large items until your home is ready.

·    Stay organized. It's going to take time for your insurance to process your claim, and you're going to get quotes from contractors to help with your restoration and rebuilding. Find a way to get and stay organized during this chaotic time so you do not miss out on important payments you are entitled to.

·    Stay patient. It takes time and hard work to recover from flood damage to your home, so be ready to stick with the job for the long haul.

·    Take care of your emotional health. A serious flood can cause anxiety and depression. Get help if you need it, and take the time to recover emotionally from the devastation you've had to deal with.

For more information about what to do after a flood, visit:

·    House Logic: What to Do in the First 24 Hours After a Flood

·    FEMA: What to Do After the Flood Fact Sheet

·    Interstate Restoration: Top Five Things to Do After a Flood

·    Allergy & Air: 6 Things You Should Do After Your House Floods

·    EPA: What to Do With Your Private Well After a Flood


Special Consideration for Floods and Farms

Living on a farm means more responsibilities than living in a traditional home. You have crops, livestock, and equipment that all need protection. When a flood threatens your farm, practice all of the tips to protect your family and home, as well as these additional tips to protect your farm:

·    Create a flood plan. Make sure you know how you will protect your livestock and gear if a flood is coming.

·    Move livestock to higher ground. In your flood plan, identify pastures or fields that are at higher elevations where livestock can go when a flood is coming. Ask neighbors for help and permission if necessary.

·    Identify chemical problems. Chemicals and fuels stored on a farm could contaminate flood waters. Make sure you can move them before a flood.

·    Create run-off ponds to help minimize flooding. If you live where flooding is likely, consider building a run-off pond on your property that can help reduce your risk.

·    Remove water quickly from flooded fields. Use pumps to get water away from plants to avoid unnecessary damage.

·    Understand that flood water contaminates food crops. Any crops meant for food that touch flood water can carry harmful bacteria and must be thrown out.

·    Inspect crops for signs of water damage soon after a flood. Know how to spot signs of water damage, such as drooping leaves, yellowing foliage,

·    Take time to rebuild the soil. If soil sat under flood waters for a lengthy period, it will lose some of its microorganisms. This makes the soil less healthful for plants. Use cover crops to restore the nutrients to the soil before planting again.

·    Purchase crop insurance to protect against losses from flooding. Too much rain or unexpected flooding from other sources could lead to a substantial financial loss for a farmer. Crop insurance can help protect against this.

·    Use soil grading to help prevent standing water. Farmers should plant in such a way that water is naturally channeled away from fields and crops.

·    Avoid soil compaction after a flood. Soils with a high clay content can become compacted after heavy rain or flooding events. This creates a surface crust that prevents oxygen from getting to the root of the plants. When this occurs, the soil will need to be broken up to allow the plants to breathe.

·    Move costly equipment to high ground before a flood. Replacing a piece of equipment is not an expense a farmer needs to take on while dealing with crop losses and soil problems. When possible, move equipment to higher ground.

·    Anchor items that could be swept away. Fuel tanks, equipment that cannot be moved, and other gear needs to be properly anchored before a flood. Fast-moving water can quickly carry away these items, causing even more damage to surrounding structures and the farmer's home.

For more information about protecting your farm from floods, visit:

·    The Center for Food Security and Public Health: Floods and Your Farm

·    Pioneer: Flooding Impact on Farms

·    PBS Learning Media: Flood – Farming and Erosion

·    Carolina Farm Stewardship Association: How to Handle Flooded Fields

·    The Journal Times: Farmers Feel the Impact of Flooding

Preparation is the Key to Feeling Confident when Floodwaters Rise

Flooding is frightening, but when you know what to do to protect yourself, your family, and your home, you will feel less anxiety and fear. By taking some time to be prepared, your family can come out of a flood safely, and you can quickly get to work to restore and protect your home. Take some time to learn how to identify your risk and what you can do before, during, and after a flood, and you will be safer the next time the waters start to rise.