INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The Indiana Department of Homeland Security is urging residents to prepare for spring flooding.
Department officials say Indiana residents should develop a family emergency communications plan, making sure to include an out-of-state contact and meeting places in case family members become separated. The agency also urges people to put together a disaster preparedness kit that contains essential items a family needs to sustain itself for at least three days.
Homeland Security officials say in many cases, easy preventative yard work can help minimize the effects of flooding. They say high amounts of debris, especially near storm sewer drains, can contribute to flooding.
They also recommend that when water levels are low, people clear debris from waterways, ditches or culverts that may obstruct water flow and force water into neighborhoods.
What to do before a flood…
According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, floods are the most common natural disaster in the United States. In the past several years, about 60 percent of all declared disasters involved flooding.
To help residents minimize flood damage and prepare for the worst, the Indiana Department of Homeland Security offers these tips on its website:
- Develop a family emergency plan and put together a disaster preparedness kit
- Safeguard possessions
Create a personal flood file containing information about possessions and keep it in a secure place, such as a safe deposit box or waterproof container. This file should have:
- A copy of any insurance policies with the agent’s contact information
- A household inventory that includes written and visual documentation of all household items and valuables.
- Copies of all other important documents
Prepare your house
- If the home has a sump pump, make sure it is working and has a battery operated backup system.
- Clean debris from gutters and downspouts
- Raise electrical components at least 12 inches from the home’s projected flood elevation