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How to prepare for a flood

A major flood will disrupt lives, businesses, jobs and travel. Families could become separated, although warning of a flood will come several hours before it reaches your home or business. Emergency directors urge that individuals, families and businesses prepare a plan to weather a major flood or other disaster.

IN GENERAL

• Designate two meeting places: just outside your home, and outside your neighborhood if you can’t return home. Know the addresses and phone numbers for both places.

• Out-of-area contact: Find a friend or family member at least 100 miles away to be your family’s contact person. All household members should have this number and contact this person in a disaster.

Keep your car filled with gas.

• Buy flood insurance. Review your insurance policy for endorsements for back-up of sewers and drains.

• Take photos or video of all valuables in your home.

• Move heirlooms and irreplaceable items to upper floors or attic where they will be safer from flood waters.

• Secure your water heater above your potential flood level.

PROTECT YOUR KIDS

• Know your child’s school or daycare disaster plan.

• Update your child’s emergency contact information.

• Teach your child when and how to call 9-1-1.

• Have your child memorize the address and phone number of the designated family meeting place.

PROTECT SENIORS, DISABLED

• Set up a buddy system to check on one another in the event of an emergency or arrange for someone to check on you.

• If you use a cane, keep extras in your emergency kit, and secured locations at work, home and school.

• Keep extra hearing aid batteries in your emergency kit.

• Store pens and paper for communicating with emergency responders if you are without a hearing aid or an interpreter.

• Store a lightweight, manual wheelchair if possible.

• Keep a pair of heavy gloves in your emergency kit to use for wheeling over glass or debris.

• Keep a three-day supply of medications and oxygen (if used) on hand.

• Prepare a medication list with the names, dose, frequency and the name of the prescribing doctor.

PROTECT YOUR PETS

• Find a place outside of the disaster area for your pet. Consider emergency pet shelters, veterinary clinics, friends or relatives’ houses.

• Keep a sturdy leash or carrier in your emergency kit. Also keep photos of pets to help identify and prove ownership.

PREPARE YOUR CAR

• Keep an emergency kit in your car. Include a tool kit, a windshield scraper or brush, and extra food, water and clothing.

STAY INFORMED, CONNECTED

• In King County, listen to radio news stations (like KIRO 97.3 FM, KOMO 97.7 FM, and KOMO 1000 AM). They can supply you with detailed emergency information.

• Sign up for phone or email alerts through your city. These services are known as Reverse 911 and often go by the name CodeRED.

• Be sure every member of your family knows the phone number and has a cell phone, coins, or a prepaid phone card to call the emergency contact.

• Teach family members how to use text messaging. Text messages can often get around network disruptions when a phone call might not be able to get through.

GET TRAINED

• Learn basic first aid, CPR and other safety training through an organization such as the American Red Cross.

OTHER CONSIDERATIONS

• Make sure you or someone in your family knows how to turn off your utilities such as electricity, water and gas.

• Ensure the frame of your house is bolted to the foundation.

• Conduct a home hazard hunt to minimize damage to your home and to people who may be inside your home during a disaster.

PRACTICE AND REVIEW

• Practice your evacuation plan twice a year. Drive your planned evacuation route and plot alternate routes on a map in case main roads are impassible or gridlocked.

BUILD A DISASTER KIT

• Put together your own disaster kit or purchase a disaster kit. Either way, your disaster kit should contain essential supplies to see you through a minimum of three days. It should be checked and updated every six months.

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