How to Survive a Flood

Prep & Survival

How to Survive a Flood

By James Smith

Across the United States, most Americans are living in or near natural disaster zones of some type. Earthquakes, tornados, mudslides, hurricanes, fires, flooding, volcanoes and more can affect our families at any time. We can’t turn our back on the power of nature, not even for a minute.

The reality is that we are much more likely to be involved in a natural disaster than any terrorist attack or dangerous political movement. FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, documents that there are anywhere from 80 to 250 natural disaster declarations each year. According to a 2008 study of natural hazards mortality in the  United States published in the International Journal of Health Geographics, 14 percent of natural hazard deaths were flood victims—people who die each year from their lack of preparedness. Don’t be a statistic. Plan ahead for survival from floods and stay ahead of the pack.

Plan Your Home Location
You may think this is common sense, but you’d be surprised how many people don’t consider it when purchasing or living in a property. Is your residence, home or apartment in a flood line? Are you living near a levy? What is the danger of levy failure? Most of these answers can be found quickly through some quick Google searches. You can also check with your local municipality or library for guidance and assistance finding answers to these questions.

To determine the safest places to live, you can also consult with local real estate agents. They are a wealth of knowledge and can advise you on some of the safer zones. You may also want to search the archives of your local online news, alternative news and newspapers to read the history of the area you’re living in and get a better feel for flooding possibilities and relative danger.

Make an effort to build, buy, rent or live in a home that is out of the danger zone as far as potential flooding is concerned. If you can achieve that, half the battle is won for short-term survival.

Have A Bug-Out Arrangement
If you’re unwilling or unable to change your primary residence, consider having a bug-out location that is out of danger of flooding. A bug-out location is a location that one attempts to get to in a catastrophic situation (also known as a SHTF scenario). A bug-out location is a safe place you can easily escape to with your family to be secure. In case of flooding, this location would also need to be on higher ground.

If your neighborhood is at risk for flooding you should always be ready to leave immediately. This means that you need to keep necessities stocked and easy to grab on a moment’s notice. If you have a bug-out bag, make sure it’s ready and packed with all the essential items. If you want to assemble your own there are tons of lists out there for every type of family, budget and geographical area, so plan and pack accordingly and make sure your bug-out bag and vehicle is stocked with essential supplies.

Your bug-out location should also be kept stocked with needed supplies, enough to keep you and your family safe, secure, healthy and well fed for as long as it will take to clear the danger and return to your primary home.

Your bug-out location should also be easy to get to, keeping in mind that many thoroughfares and main highways will be choked in case of natural disaster. Plan a few different routes to your bug-out location so if one main traffic artery is blocked you have alternative routes to get you there quickly and safely. Consider investing in a four-wheel drive to be prepared for the conditions on the streets.

Remember, even if your neighborhood is not directly affected there may be long and dangerous disruptions to utilities like potable water, gas and electricity. Neighborhood policing will also be affected as officers are spread thin. Be prepared to go without essentials for some time.

In the case of Hurricane Katrina in August 2005, more than 1.7 million people lost power in Mississippi and Louisiana, and and it took more than five days for food, drinking water and medical supplies to reach residents. It took almost a week to plug the breach in the 17th Street Canal and begin draining the city of water. Even two weeks after Hurricane Katrina  40 percent of the city of New Orleans remained under water. In January, nearly four months after Katrina made landfall, 85 percent of public schools in Orleans parish were still closed. A year after Katrina nearly 100,000 people were still living in 37,745 FEMA-provided trailers. Even with the best intentions, the cooperation of local first responders, and the help of the National Guard it can take days, weeks, months, or even years to repair a city affected by flooding.

What To Do When There Is A Risk Of Flooding
Aside from working to ensure your family is not living in harm’s way, there are other ways to stay safe as well. These include monitoring weather reports, keeping current with local news and announcements, and keeping you informed on changing weather conditions.

Monitor local news and radio stations and keep your news on. If you lose power, make sure you’ve invested in a battery powered or wind-up radio with access to public radio bands and low-frequency transmissions. Most modern hand crank radios, like FRX radios by Etón, can also be charged without the hand-crank. The Etón offers solar charging, USB ports, and car chargers—allowing you to charge the radio anytime, anywhere and without access to electricity.

In a standard two-minute hand crank test, the Etón outperformed the competition and lasted 13 minutes on cranking. Fully charged (which takes about five hours) the radio can be used for about 15 hours. A portable, hand cranking or battery-powered radio will be a needed item in the event of any kind of natural disaster. It will help you stay as informed and connected as possible and keep you abreast of developing news and weather warnings.

With a tuned-in radio, the severe weather alerts and warning sounds issued across the public broadcasting system will alert you to any changes in weather conditions. They’re meant to snap you back to reality in the event you are not focusing. Additionally, if you live in an area where conditions can worsen quickly, a radio can help you stay abreast of rapidly changing weather circumstances that may otherwise put you or your family in danger if you don’t act fast.

We all want to ensure our safety and security in case of natural disasters and flooding, but it also requires forethought and planning. Your preparations may put you in a position to help your neighbors as well. Make educated and informed decisions about where to locate your home and work to gather the supplies you need to survive. If you plan ahead you’ll have a better shot at surviving a flood and thriving in the aftermath of a natural disaster.

Listen Up 
It’s important to listen regularly to your local news and emergency officials for updates on the evolving situation; flooding can sometimes happen quickly. You can find the latest forecasts and dangerous weather conditions at and Additionally, some smart phones are able to receive Flash Flood Warning alerts via the Wireless Emergency Alerts system. Visit for more information. You also can learn more about common types of flooding and what flood warnings mean on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) website at

James Smith is an avid prepper with a passion for self-protection at all levels. He loves to write about survival skills and techniques that can help us to survive in a TEOTWAWKI event.

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