Yesterday, as we look at preparing for a flood, we started discussing risk response strategies for floods. Today, we pick up on the fourth risk response strategy.
Strategy 4: Mitigate.
Mitigation is when you make deliberate actions to reduce the severity or likeliness of an uncertain event. We are going to spend a lot of time here, in four sections. These will focus on what to do in four timeframe scenarios.
Scenario 1- A flood may happen sometime.
The best time to prepare for a flood or any emergency is well before it happens.
Most people, when it comes to flooding, are primarily worried about protecting their property. In my opinion, this is looking at the situation backwards. Your property is there to protect you, not for you to protect it. So any modifications or preparations you do to your property are for the benefit of your safety, not its. As such, the most important preparation you can make to your property is the mental preparation to leave if you need to.
There is no honor in needing to get rescued via helicopter or boat after trying to “tough it out”. Staying to fight a losing and unnecessary battle is not wise; it is foolish. Live to fight another day. Be a helper instead of helpless.
Bugging Out During a Flood
The concept of bugging out has been one of the most well discussed topics of SurvivalBlog and prepping in general. As such, I will not get into much detail here.
My recommendation is that you make sure to account for possible flooding scenarios in your bug out plan. If you have no bug out plan, today would be a great time to write one down.
Questions to Ask When Thinking Through Your Bug Out Route
Are any of your evacuation routes through potential flood areas? When would be the right time to evacuate in a flood event? How could your transportation method (walking, car, bicycle, et cetera) be affected by water on your route, or rain at the time of use? Maybe a small inflatable raft could be added to your stash for either yourself or to float additional supplies and tools that would be too difficult to carry through water.
So now you have incorporated flooding into your bug out plan. Great. But what happens if you get stuck at your house during a flood? What can you do to minimize the damage to your property, and your own personal risk, while you are there and the water is rising?
The good news is, if you already have a thorough bug-in plan, you can use this as your basis and simply tweak it for flood scenarios the same way you did with your bug out plan.
Modify Your Bug-In Plans to Include Flooding
Already have sandbags for reinforcing key areas? See how many more you would need to make a three-foot wall around your whole house. Already have a bug in kit? Make sure it is easily portable and movable to higher ground in case it is currently stored in the basement.
Other ideas are as simple as making a list of key items to be moved from low areas of the house to higher ground in case of a flood risk. Even if the waters ruin the first floor of your house, moving priceless heirlooms out of the basement or first floor and above the water line can significantly reduce the emotional distress of a loss of your house to flooding.
Property Modification and Resources
If you have the ability to make modifications to your property, take a look at the drainage situation of your house and see if you could dig any trenches to direct runoff away from critical areas before there is any need. If you have a sump pump, you should check it once a year to make sure it is working properly.
As far as your personal safety, you should have all the supplies you need in your bug in kit (water filters, food, defensive tools, et cetera). But think a little outside the box now and make sure you know how you would get onto the roof in the case of extremely high water. How would you signal for help? Do you have flares or even fireworks that could be used for this purpose? Do you have spray paint that can be used to mark the roof so that rescuers know to target your house?
Hopefully, taking these steps can help reduce the amount of decisions you need to think through in case a flood become imminent.
Scenario 2: A flood is imminent.
Picture this. You are sitting on your couch watching Doomsday Preppers, your biggest concern being the mental anguish of trying to figure out why these individuals were willing to so drastically breach OPSEC for a few minutes of fame. There is a gentle tapping of rain on the window, as there has been for a few days. While you reach for an open bag of Doritos, the TV turns blue, and an emergency warning plays. The warning advises of high flood risk in your area. What do you do?
A. Continue eating all the Doritos, figuring you will eventually work them off during your imminent bug out evacuation, or
B. Get off the couch and start doing what you are about to read next in this article.
The choice is yours. But personally, I would recommend action B. Let’s dig into it.
- Your very first step is assessing the present situation.Check the outside of your house. Can you see water rising past normal levels? Where would water be coming from? If you fail to see an immediate risk, go back inside and check the local weather. Understand that the news is reactive, once the news crews show up, usually the damage is already done. You need to stay ahead of the news. Call friends or family on the other side of town. Call the police for road closures. Monitor your Ham radio, if you are licensed. Get the most accurate information you can.
- After you understand the situation, try to develop a timeline and risk schedule. How much longer will you be able to evacuate if the situation is looking like you are going to need to leave? Do you have time to move key items out of high risk areas? Do you have time to fill sandbags?If it looks like you should leave, then leave. Go. Nothing in your house is worth dying for. Saving family albums is not worth a higher risk of a family funeral. Bug out bags will just drag you down, if the water gets too deep. Go.
- If you are confident you have time, even one hour, before you need to leave then prep as much as you can.I recommend the following sequence of activities:
- Load up the car with all your bug out gear. This ensures you are able to leave quickly if needed.
- Move all your key items from low areas to high areas.
- Fortify what you can. Fill sandbags and place them in front of doors and basement windows. Put a sandbag over the toilet hole and any sink drains to prevent sewage backup.
- Before leaving, turn off any connections to electricity, water, and gas. Just be careful if you have a sump pump, as turning off electricity will make you lose this key piece of equipment.
Scenario 3: A flood is happening.
The waters are rising. Now is too late to start gathering gopher wood and build an ark. Hopefully, you had warning and were able to prepare your house and are now decided on either bugging out or staying put. If you need to bug out, follow your pre-planned route. Hopefully, you planned well enough to not need to drive or travel through any already flooded areas. If you do need to make a water crossing in a vehicle, please see the next scenario tomorrow for some tips on this task.
To Help or Stay Out of the Way?
Once you are out of the flood area and immediate danger, take some time to relax your nerves. You and your family will most likely be in some level of shock and are vulnerable to making quick, emotional decisions. If you are confident that you have the ability to be a help and not a hindrance, consider venturing back to see if there is anyone you can assist. But beware of becoming a liability. Unless you have training in flood rescue or EMT techniques, it is probably best for you to look after your own and let the professionals handle the rest.
Keep Working To Stay Above Water
If you are bugging in either by choice or because of dangerous road conditions, the key factor for your survival will be your attitude. Don’t give up. Don’t go into shock. Keep moving. Keep working. Have everyone in the family working on something. Don’t stop filling sandbags until you run out. Move every object from the basement to the first floor, and then to the second floor. If the waters start rising, stay above them. Chop your way onto the roof if you need to. Keep calling 911. Just stay above the water.
Flotation in the Current
If there is no choice but to be swept away by the current, ensure you have some flotation. Anything that floats will do. Blow up an air mattress while the water is still low to use if needed. Grab the pool floaties. Put basketballs in a trash bag and hold on. Do everything you can to stay above the water. Try to stay on your back and keep your feet ahead of you in the current to brace for any impacts. As soon as possible, try to grab a tree or get out of the flow.
Tomorrow, we will look at the fourth scenario– when a flood has already happened. We will also close up with the final risk response strategy and the final step in Risk Management– Risk Monitoring.
SurvivalBlog Writing Contest
This has been another entry for Round 71 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The nearly $11,000 worth of prizes for this round include:
- A $3000 gift certificate towards a Sol-Ark Solar Generator from Veteran owned Portable Solar LLC. The only EMP Hardened Solar Generator System available to the public.
- A Gunsite Academy Three Day Course Certificate. This can be used for any one, two, or three day course (a $1,195 value),
- A course certificate from onPoint Tactical for the prize winner’s choice of three-day civilian courses, excluding those restricted for military or government teams. Three day onPoint courses normally cost $795,
- DRD Tactical is providing a 5.56 NATO QD Billet upper. These have hammer forged, chrome-lined barrels and a hard case, to go with your own AR lower. It will allow any standard AR-type rifle to have a quick change barrel. This can be assembled in less than one minute without the use of any tools. It also provides a compact carry capability in a hard case or in 3-day pack (an $1,100 value),
- An infrared sensor/imaging camouflage shelter from Snakebite Tactical in Eureka, Montana (A $350+ value),
- Two cases of Mountain House freeze-dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources (a $350 value),
- A $250 gift certificate good for any product from Sunflower Ammo,
- Two cases of Meals, Ready to Eat (MREs), courtesy of CampingSurvival.com (a $180 value).
- A Model 175 Series Solar Generator provided by Quantum Harvest LLC (a $439 value),
- A Glock form factor SIRT laser training pistol and a SIRT AR-15/M4 Laser Training Bolt, courtesy of Next Level Training, which have a combined retail value of $589,
- A gift certificate for any two or three-day class from Max Velocity Tactical (a $600 value),
- A transferable certificate for a two-day Ultimate Bug Out Course from Florida Firearms Training (a $400 value),
- A Trekker IV™ Four-Person Emergency Kit from Emergency Essentials (a $250 value),
- A $200 gift certificate good towards any books published by PrepperPress.com,
- A pre-selected assortment of military surplus gear from CJL Enterprize (a $300 value),
- RepackBox is providing a $300 gift certificate to their site, and
- American Gunsmithing Institute (AGI) is providing a $300 certificate good towards any of their DVD training courses.
- A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21 (a $275 value),
- A custom made Sage Grouse model utility/field knife from custom knife-maker Jon Kelly Designs, of Eureka, Montana,
- A large handmade clothes drying rack, a washboard, and a Homesteading for Beginners DVD, all courtesy of The Homestead Store, with a combined value of $206,
- Expanded sets of both washable feminine pads and liners, donated by Naturally Cozy (a $185 retail value),
- Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security, LLC,
- Mayflower Trading is donating a $200 gift certificate for homesteading appliances,
- Montie Gear is donating a Y-Shot Slingshot and a $125 Montie gear Gift certificate.,
- Two 1,000-foot spools of full mil-spec U.S.-made 750 paracord (in-stock colors only) from www.TOUGHGRID.com (a $240 value), and
Round 71 ends on July 31st, so get busy writing and e-mail us your entry. Remember that there is a 1,500-word minimum, and that articles on practical “how to” skills for survival have an advantage in the judging.