Flooding can happen anywhere, anytime. Mississippi ranks eighth in the nation for the number of repetitive loss-structures. The state also has more than 5 million acres classified as floodplain, which is the fifth largest in the nation.
Floods can be slow or fast-rising but generally develop during a period of days. Taking precautions now, such as engaging in floodplain management activities, constructing barriers and purchasing flood insurance will help reduce the amount of structural damage to your home and property should a flood occur.
Take these steps now before a flood occurs:
- Purchase flood insurance. You can obtain flood insurance through your insurance company. Flood insurance is guaranteed through the National Flood Insurance Program.
- Take photographs and/or videos of all your important possessions. If a flood damages your home, these items will help you file your flood insurance claim. Take these photos or videos with you if you evacuate.
- Store important documents and irreplaceable personal objects where they won’t be damaged. If a major flood is expected, consider putting these items in a storage facility.
- Plan and practice a flood evacuation route with your family.
- Have an out-of-state relative or friend serve as your family contact person, and make sure everyone in your family knows the contact person’s name, address, and phone number.
- Buy and install a sump pump with backup power.
- Have an electrician raise electric components such as sockets, switches and circuit breakers at least 12 inches above your home’s projected flood elevation
- Install backflow valves or plug for your drains, toilets and sewer connections.
- Anchor fuel tanks so they will not be torn free by floodwaters.
Take these steps if floodwaters are rising:
- Fill sinks, bathtubs, and jugs with clean water in case water becomes contaminated.
- Listen to a battery-operated radio for the latest storm information.
- If local authorities instruct you to turn off all utilities and close your main gas valve, do so immediately.
- If told to evacuate your home, do so immediately.
- If water starts to rise inside your house before you evacuate, retreat to the second floor, attic or your roof if necessary.
- If you come in contact with floodwater, wash your hands with soap and disinfected water. Floodwater may carry raw sewage, chemical waste, and other infectious substances.
- Avoid walking through floodwater. As little as six inches of moving water can knock you off your feet.
- Never drive through a flood area or rising water.
- Avoid downed power lines because electric currents pass easily through water.
- Look out for animals, especially snakes. Animals lose their homes in floods too.