Family Planning for a Flood

"Get in the car" South Park GIF

Whether your family is made up of a couple of parents and their children, a single person and a few cats, or a school cafeteria worker and four fourth graders, your whole family needs to be part of your flood preparedness plan. (Note that we make no representations that the feline members of your family will be able to participate in any helpful way.)

First things first, tell your family where the emergency kit is, and make sure they know it’s for emergency purposes only. A flashlight is only useful in an emergency if it’s still in the go bag. If you can involve them in the process of creating an emergency preparedness kit, that’s even better! Doing this together will allow you to explain how each item might be used in an emergency, and might make drills easier later.

Keep copies of your essential documents like insurance policies and critical records in your go bag, but also make sure your family knows where the originals are kept (hopefully in a fire- and waterproof safe) so the originals can also be taken in the event of an evacuation. Go over evacuation routes as well, and make sure your written evacuation plans are part of the go bag.

Most importantly, ensure that everyone understands what to do during a flood. Emphasize that they shouldn’t drive or wade through rising water: the water can be deeper than it seems, and it can hide dangerous debris, contaminants, or even downed power lines that can cause electrocution.

Warning sign
The skull might be a bit much for the kids, but the information is sound.

Don’t Forget the Family Pets

If you’re a decent human being, you’ll plan for your pets’ evacuation as well! Keep your emergency kit stocked with their food, supplies, and medications. Make a plan for transporting them. Look for travel-friendly solutions like carriers that double as backpacks if your pets are small. If your vet has prescribed travel or anxiety medications in the past, you may want to keep those in your go bag. Evacuation could be very stressful for animals who are not used to travel or different environments.

Rule of Thumb

We can almost guarantee that not only will your cats refuse to help you during the evacuation, they’ll actively hinder you. They may even gleefully revel in your frustration.

Emergency Contacts

All but the true blue hermits of the world will have people outside their immediate families who will need updates about your family’s safety. Create a list of emergency contacts for use during a crisis (311, 411, etc) and people who will want to know that you’re okay. If you live near anyone on your list, make a note that you should check on them as well, since they’ll be affected by the same floods and other disasters that affect you.

To make it easier, we’ve made a whole guide just about creating emergency communication plan. You’re welcome. We do it because we care.

Now that the humans are sorted, what about the houses? You may have noticed that there’s been a distinct lack of sandbag mentions. Sandbags, your time is nigh!

About the Authors

It takes a village! We are researching, writing and fact checking as a family. Collaboration is the name of the game, whether we’re running from a zombie horde or finding the best way to turn a complex concept into a deliciously digestible set of bullet points.

Katherine Esperanza is a Los Angeles based writer. When she's not conjuring new queer slice-of-life short stories, she's busy watching the newest films, out at queer shows, supporting queer artists, or just checking out the queer community as a whole.

A former international non-profiteer, small business owner, and co-op'er, Katherine is delighted to help introduce more leftist politics into the disaster preparedness/prepper sphere, which is currently far too right-wing.