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Family Flood Preparedness

In addition to the resources offered by the Harris County Flood Control District, the American Red Cross and FEMA both have excellent disaster preparedness documents available on their websites, www.redcross.org and www.fema.gov.

Flood insurance is one the most important steps you can take in flood preparedness. It's relatively inexpensive, and homeowner's does not cover floods.

> Learn more about flood insurance

Helpful, Printable Resources for Flood Preparedness
Family Flood Preparedness Plan  (PDF, 188KB)
Family Emergency Kit  (PDF, 128KB)
Family Emergency Contact Cards  (PDF, 76KB)
Repairing Your Flooded Home  (PDF, 776KB)
Turn Around, Don't Drown  (PDF, 456KB)

Family Flood Preparedness Plan View and download a printable version of the Family Flood Preparedness Plan in Acrobat PDF format. Keep the printout in a convenient place for quick access.

Knowing what to do, what to have, and when to take action is your best protection and your responsibility.

Where will your family be when it floods? At work, at school, in the car? How will you find each other? How will you know if your children or parents are safe?

Learn the disaster plans at your workplace, your children's school or daycare, and other places where your family spends time.

Create a Family Preparedness Plan
Discuss with your family why you need to prepare for a flood and the dangers associated with a flood. Plan to share responsibility and work together as a team. Pick a place to meet outside your neighborhood in case you can't return home.
Create an emergency contact card with all important contact info. Download a printable version.
Ask an out-of-town or out-of-state friend or family member to be your family check-in contact. If you have trouble contacting each other during or after a flood, call this person and tell them where you are.
If infants, elderly, or handicapped individuals are present, know what their special needs are if you stay in your residence, if you need to evacuate in a hurry, or if you need to go to a shelter after the flood.
Get to know your neighbors and discuss how you can help each other.
Plan how to take care of your pets. Most emergency shelters do not allow pets.
Implement Your Plan
In addition to contact cards, post emergency, family and neighbor telephone numbers by the phones.
Make sure all family members have the family check-in contact's phone number and know the location of the family meeting place outside your neighborhood.
Show each responsible family member how to turn off the electricity to your residence at the main breaker or switch.
Keep flood insurance coverage current. Homeowner's does not cover floods.
Prepare and maintain a Family Emergency Kit. Replace items, as necessary.
Prepare and maintain an emergency kit for your car.
Practice and maintain your plan with all family members.
Pay attention to all National Weather Service flood watches and warnings.

When faced with a flooding situation: STAY PUT wherever you are, unless your life is threatened or you are ordered to evacuate.

Put your family preparedness plan into action.
Contact your family members and confirm plan of action and alternatives.
Confirm your family emergency kit is complete and ready.
Move emergency supplies and valuables to high, dry place in your residence.
Locate and put pets in a safe place.
Make sure you have an adequate water supply in case service is cut off.
If you can do so safely, turn off the electricity at the breaker before water enters your residence.
If you can do so safely, move vehicles to higher ground.
Your safest option is to stay put. However, if you must evacuate to a safe location or a shelter, take your emergency supply kit and tell your family check-in contact you're leaving. Don't drive through flooded streets.

If you did not get the electricity turned off before the water entered your residence, do not turn it off. Get out of the water.
Move valuables and emergency supplies with you as you move up in your residence. If necessary, use the attic or roof. Wait for help.
Don't try to swim or wade to safety. Wait for the water to recede or rescue. There are environmental and biological dangers in the water such as oil, gasoline, sewage, fire ants, etc.
Downed power lines can electrify floodwaters. Don't let your kids play in the water.
Stay calm and wait. Don't try to walk or drive through floodwaters. Most deaths occur from people walking or driving through floodwaters. If your car stalls in rising waters, get out immediately and get on the car or to higher ground.

Although floodwaters may be down in some areas, many dangers still exist.

If you come upon a barricade or a flooded road, wait or go another way.

Keep listening to the radio for news about what to do, where to go, or places to avoid.

If you must walk or drive in areas that have flooded, stay on firm ground. Standing water may be electrically charged from underground or downed power lines. Avoid flood debris.

If you evacuated your home, check for the following when you return:
Use flashlights to check your home - do not light matches or turn on electrical switches.
If the water rose above the electrical outlets in the home, contact a licensed electrician before turning on the main circuit breaker or trying to restore power.
Allow all electrical appliances and electronic equipment that were submerged in water to dry thoroughly for at least one week. Have them checked by a qualified repairperson before turning them on.
Attempting to repair a flood-damaged appliance could result in electrical shock or death.
If an outside air conditioning unit was under water, mud and water may have accumulated in the controls. Attempting to restart it could result in further damage and costly repairs. Have the unit checked by a qualified air conditioning technician.
If you smell gas when you return to your home, leave the house and call CenterPoint Energy at 713-659-2111 from a neighbor's house or a remote location as soon as possible.
If your home was flooded, call a licensed plumber or a gas appliance technician to inspect your appliances and gas piping to make sure it is in good operating condition before calling CenterPoint Energy to reconnect service. This includes outdoor gas appliances, such as pool heaters, gas grills, and gas lights.
If your home did not flood and your natural gas is turned off at the meter, call CenterPoint Energy to reconnect service.
Check for fire hazards and other household hazards.
Clean up spilled medicines, bleaches and flammable liquids immediately
Contact your insurance agent to discuss claims.

Listen to your local radio stations to find out where to go for assistance. The Red Cross can provide vouchers to purchase items to meet emergency needs and can also provide a clean-up kit: mop, broom, etc. Download the Red Cross booklet Repairing Your Flooded Home. Other organizations also provide additional assistance.

If you hire cleanup or repair contractors, be sure they are qualified to do the job. Check references. Get written estimates. Keep all receipts. Be wary of people who drive through neighborhoods offering home repair.

Family Emergency Kit
Be prepared! Have a Family Emergency Kit packed and ready to use at any time. Replace items as necessary.

Keep the printout in a convenient place for quick access.

Family Emergency Kit
First Aid Kit
Use the items recommended by the Red Cross
Prepare one for both your home and car
Clothing And Bedding
Rain gear
Blankets or sleeping bags
Sturdy shoes or work boots
Clothing appropriate for conditions
One gallon per person per day
(two quarts drinking/two quarts food preparation and sanitation)
Keep or be prepared to store a three-day supply per person at home
Compact non-perishable food that requires little preparation
Canned juices and foods (meat, fruit, etc.)
Manual can opener
Sterno or camping stove, if you must heat food.
Special foods (infants, elderly)
Special Items
Cash or traveler's checks, change
Prescription drugs, vitamins
Important family documents in waterproof, portable container:
Birth, marriage, death certificates Will, insurance policies, deeds, contracts, etc.
Passports, social security cards, immunization records
Bank and credit card account numbers and contacts
Inventory of valuable household items
Important telephone numbers
Special items for infants, elderly, or handicapped, if applicable
Books and games
Tools & Supplies
Battery operated radio and extra batteries
Cell phone with car charger or extra battery
Flashlight and extra batteries
Utility knife
Map of the area (for locating shelters)
Paper, pencils
Matches in a waterproof container
Personal hygiene items
Toilet paper, towelettes
Plastic garbage bags, ties (for personal sanitation)
Needles, thread
Duct tape
Mess kits, or paper cups, plates and plastic utensils
Plastic storage bags
Safety flares, whistle
Soap, liquid detergent
Plastic sheeting
Fire extinguisher: small canister (ABC type)
Pliers, wrench (to turn off gas and water)
Harris County Flood Control District
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