How to Survive a Flood

How to Survive a Flood

Flooding is the most common natural disaster in the United States. In 2022, the nation saw 19 major flood events and 103 people lost their lives. In 2021, flash flooding and river floods killed 146 people. So far in 2023, at least 32 people have died. If you live in a flood-susceptible area, here are some flood safety tips you need to know.

Make Preparations

If bad weather is on the way, be prepared to take action. Pay close attention to weather alerts on the radio, television, or your cell phone. A flood watch means a flood is possible in your area. A flood warning means flooding is occurring or will be soon. Be ready to evacuate quickly.

Have an emergency flood survival kit ready to go. It should have at least three days of supplies for each family member. Items should include non-perishable food, a flashlight, a battery-powered radio, portable phone chargers, extra batteries, a first-aid kit, a 7-day supply of medications, a multi-purpose tool, personal hygiene and sanitation items, and copies of important documents.

Make sure your drainage systems are clear of debris. Clogging can lead to flooding and property damage.

Flash Flooding Guidelines

If there’s any chance of flash flooding, move to higher ground immediately. The sheer force and volume of flowing water that can accumulate is extremely dangerous. Flash floods can occur quickly when water overflows from streams and other areas prone to sudden flooding.

If You Are Stuck in a Flood

If a flood warning is issued for your area, prepare to head for higher ground. Move essential items to the upper floor of your home. If told to do so, turn off utilities at the main switches or valves. Unplug electrical appliances. Never touch electrical equipment if you are wet or standing in water.

Six inches of water is all it takes to sweep you off your feet. Never walk or drive through moving water. People underestimate its force. Always remember to “turn around, don’t drown”. 

Driving in Floods

Half of all flood-related drownings occur when a vehicle is driven into flood waters. Turn around and go another way if you come upon high water. If floodwaters rise around your car, get out and move to higher ground if you can do so safely. Six inches of water can stall your vehicle or cause you to lose control. One foot of water will float many vehicles while two feet of rushing water can carry you away.

Trapped in a Vehicle

If you are inside a sinking vehicle, take these steps to help you get out safely.

Don’t panic. Take a deep breath and focus on safely escaping your vehicle.

Unbuckle your seatbelt. Open your window immediately and swim out. Don’t open the door.

Don’t use the car as a floatie. Swim with the flow of the water until you reach higher ground.

Break the window. If it won’t open, use a sharp object, a rock, or your heel to smash it.

Following a Flood

Return home after a flooding event only when authorities say it’s safe. Listen to news reports to learn if the local water supply is ok to drink. Be careful on roads where floodwaters have receded. They may be too weak to hold a vehicle. Stay away from downed power lines. Use extreme caution when entering buildings which could be damaged. Clean and disinfect everything that got wet.

Let Us Clean Up the Mess

If your home has suffered water, flood, or fire damage, or you need a biohazard cleanup, Flood Department is here to help. We provide repair and clean-up services for homeowners and businesses in Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, and Washington, D.C. We are dedicated to helping reverse the damage done by water, mold, sewage, smoke, biohazards, and more. Contact us at 301-829-2600 or visit us online for more information.

Why Do I Need Flood Insurance?

Why Do I Need Flood Insurance?

Why Invest in Flood Insurance

Flooding is often unexpected and can quickly wreak havoc. According to FEMA, just one inch of water can cause up to $25,000 in damage. Most homeowners insurance doesn’t cover flood damage. Flood insurance must be purchased separately.  It’s one of the best ways residents and business owners can protect themselves against financial losses due to high water.

Flooding Risk in Maryland

The Maryland Emergency Management Agency reports Maryland is prone to flooding. The agency notes short bursts of heavy rain can impact small streams and creeks and lead to flash flooding. Prolonged steady rain can impact larger streams and rivers and cause widespread flooding. Hurricanes and tropical storms can lead to tidal flooding along Maryland’s bays and tributaries. Find out if your neighborhood is at risk for flooding by visiting

The Mid-Atlantic and Northeastern states get hit with high rainfall, but less frequently than the Gulf states do. As a result, the Mid-Atlantic area is less prepared to handle the impacts of flooding.

The Benefits of Flood Insurance

Flood insurance is available to all homeowners, business owners and renters. You don’t have to be in a high-risk flood zone to purchase it. The coverage can stop the need to dip into your savings or take on debt to make repairs to flood-damaged property. Having flood insurance helps victims recover faster when floodwaters recede.

What Flood Insurance Covers

Flood insurance is available primarily through the federally run National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Under the NFIP, residential property owners can buy coverage of up to $250,000 in structural damages and up to $100,000 for personal property. Businesses can buy up to $500,000 in coverage for damage to buildings and another $500,000 for damage to contents.

The NFIP provides flood insurance to people in areas highly prone to flooding. These are called SFHAs, or Special Flood Hazard Areas.  SFHAs are also known as the 100-year floodplain.

Some private insurers also offer flood insurance. The options typically offer more flexibility and broader coverage than the federal government does.

The Cost of Flood Insurance

How much you have to fork over for flood insurance varies by flood zone, the coverage you buy, and characteristics of your property. NFIP policies for single-family homes inside a floodplain cost an average of $1,100 per year. It will run you about $490 annually if you have a home outside the Special Flood Hazard Area. Flood insurance is mandatory for certain homes in the SFHA, also known as the 100-year floodplain.

Although flood insurance isn’t legally required for all properties, it’s a good idea to have it. Properties outside flood prone areas account for 20% of all NFIP claims and receive 33% of federal disaster assistance for flooding.  Flood insurance can be quite affordable for homes outside FEMA’s high-risk flood zones.

Let Us Repair the Damage

When it comes to water, flood or fire damage,  Flood Department is here to help. We provide water damage repair and clean-up services for homeowners and businesses. We cover Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, and Washington, D.C. We are dedicated to helping reverse the damage done by water, mold, sewage, smoke and more. Contact us at 301-829-2600 or visit us online.

Cleaning Up Your Home After a Storm

Cleaning Up Your Home After a Storm

When the summer heat and humidity kicks in, so do nasty thunderstorms.  The barrage of rain, wind, lightning and even hail can do a number on your home and yard. Here’s how to cope if a bad storm strikes.

Keep an Eye on the Sky

It’s tempting to want to get going on cleaning up, but make sure you wait until weather conditions have improved. Stay up to date with your local forecast or check out NOAA weather.

Avoid Potential Dangers

When cleaning up after a bad storm, look around for hazardous conditions. Here are some tips to avoid potential dangers.

Check the risk. Evaluate what kind of risk you may be facing before you start cleaning up the mess. If an area looks dangerous, stay out of it. Severely damaged structures can be unsafe. Contact your local government for the next steps. You may need a safety inspection before you can enter your home.

Flooded rooms. Stay out of the water. Floodwater can contain dangerous bacteria. It also poses a safety risk if it comes into contact with electrical or gas appliances. If it’s safe to do so, turn off the power and gas lines in your home. If the shut-off valves are in the water, call a professional for assistance.

Ask for Help. If your home is a total loss, call local emergency services for help. Also contact your home insurance company before tackling the damage. If you notice any downed power lines, avoid them. Report them to local police and utility companies.

Wear Proper Protective Gear

When you are ready for clean-up, make sure you are wearing the proper protective gear.  Put on a hard hat, safety goggles, heavy-duty work gloves and waterproof boots.  Long pants and a long-sleeved shirt are also recommended. Put on an N95 respirator mask if you have one.

How to Clean Up Safely

It can take days or weeks to clean up after a severe storm. Here are some safety tips to help you navigate through the clean up process.

Tackling Indoor Cleanup

If your home is safe to enter, check for hazards such as frayed wiring. Sparks and a burning smell can also spell trouble. If there are issues, shut off the power immediately. If you smell gas, turn off the main gas valve.  Evacuate your home until the problems are resolved.

Once you’re out of danger, document your damages by taking photos and videos. Take detailed notes too. This will come in handy when you file your insurance claim.

Be careful not to step on exposed nails or broken glass while you’re exploring around the house. Also, clean up any spilled medicines, flammable liquids or potentially hazardous materials you find.

Next, set aside piles for different types of storm debris. These can include electronics, large appliances, hazardous and household waste, and construction materials. This will make clean-up and trash pick-up easier.

Safe Outdoor Cleanup

When you are ready to assess the yard damage,  take a look at your trees. Pick up any fallen branches and remove any dangling ones. Get them out of the way so you don’t trip over them. If you have the experience, grab a chainsaw for some tree trimming. Follow proper safety protocols before you begin, including ensuring the tree isn’t touching any power lines. If the tree is too large to handle, call in a pro to do the work.

Once the yard is safe to clean up, grab some trash bags. Pick up any loose debris. Use a shovel or rake to collect the yard waste. Put it in a heavy-duty trash bag. Be sure to clean out your gutters to keep them from clogging up. Check the roof as well. High winds, flying debris and fallen trees can damage your shingles.

Prepare for Outages

Have a plan in case the power goes out. Use battery-powered lanterns or flashlights to see in the dark. Avoid using candles. Keep extra batteries on hand to power up flashlights and portable radios. Purchase a portable charger for your phone. Disconnect appliances and electronics to prevent damage from electrical surges. Have non-perishable food on hand. Keep refrigerators and freezers closed.

You can use a generator for emergency power, but don’t turn it on during severe weather or in wet conditions. Run it only outdoors several feet away from the house.

Let Us Clean Up the Mess

When it comes to home disasters,  Flood Department is here to help. We provide repair and clean-up services for homeowners and businesses. We are dedicated to helping reverse the damage done by water, mold, sewage, smoke and more. We cover Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, and Washington, D.C. Contact us today at 301-829-2600 or visit us online.