Jackson, Miss. — With forecasters predicting a rain-soaked weekend, emergency management officials are encouraging you to take the prior precautions. Following a few simple steps can save the lives of your loved ones.
First of all, you should craft a plan. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) offers emergency plan fill-in forms and a number of practical planning resources at https://go.usa.gov/xyqyG. Once you have your plan, you should rehearse it.
Things you can do before the next flood:
- Reduce the risk of damage from flooding by elevating critical utilities, such as electrical panels, switches, sockets, wiring, appliances and heating systems.
- Waterproof your basement. Make sure your sump pump is working. Install a battery-operated backup in case of power failure.
- Clear debris from gutters and downspouts.
Consider what you’ll need to do in case your family has to leave home for a temporary evacuation center:
- Plan and practice a flood evacuation route. Ask someone located in another city or state to be your “family contact” in an emergency, and make sure everyone knows the contact’s address and phone number.
- Build an emergency supply kit. Food, bottled water, first aid supplies, medicines and a battery-operated radio should be ready to go when you are. Visit Ready.gov for a complete disaster supply checklist.
- Make a pet plan. Many evacuation shelters do not allow pets. What will you do with Fido if the family is evacuated?
- Know how to shut off the gas, power and water to your home.
- Have some emergency cash tucked away; ATMs could be offline after a disaster.
- Never have less than half a tank of gas in your car. If you must evacuate, gas pumps may not be working.
Check your insurance policy to be sure you have enough coverage:
- Standard homeowners insurance doesn’t cover flooding, but flood insurance is available for homeowners, renters and business owners through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).
- You can probably purchase flood insurance from your insurance agent. If your agent doesn’t sell flood insurance, call the NFIP Help Center at 800-427-4661 for assistance.
- Take photos and videos to conduct a household inventory and keep a record of all major household items and valuables. These documents are critically important when filing insurance claims.