How can I keep my household safe in a flood?

I don’t need to tell you that we’ve got some seriously stormy conditions today. While we may not be able to control the weather, we can certainly plan for its repercussions. Let’s look at a few tips from the federal Office of Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner.

How to prepare for a flood disaster in advance:

  • Determine the elevation of your home to find how how vulnerable it may be to flooding.
  • Evaluate your insurance coverage annually to ensure that you’re fully protected.
  • If you live in a flood-prone area, contact the National Flood Insurance Program to learn what measures you can take in advance.
  • Get in touch with your local emergency management agency to find out how to put up proper protective measures around your home.
  • If you live in a flood-prone area, keep plywood, lumber, plastic sheeting, sandbags, trash bags, shovels, work boots and gloves on hand.
  • Buy a weather radio. It often costs as little as $20.
  • Put together a disaster survival kit.
  • Plan two evacuation routes in advance, remaining aware of streams, drainage channels and low areas that may be prone to flooding.
  • Do not park your vehicle near streams or rivers.

Should flooding occur:

  • Clean and disinfect everything that gets wet.
  • Pull up and discard soaked carpeting.
  • Watch your step, looking for debris including broken bottles, nails and slippery floors and stairs.
  • Use large fans to speed the drying process and cut off mold development.
  • Remember that drowning is the number-one cause of flood deaths. Six inches of rapidly moving water can knock you off your feet. If you must go through standing water, use a pole or stick for balance.
  • Do not drive through a flooded area.
  • Stay away from power lines and electrical wires.

Stay safe and dry!

Dreaming of San Francisco? Cece Blase offers local advice to San Francisco buyers, sellers and owners– and feeds the dreams of those who wish they could live in Tony Bennett’s ‘City by the Bay.’ Call 415-577-0809 or email

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