HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - With a week of rain ahead for much of the Pine Belt, it’s important to be prepared in the event of flooding.
According to FEMA, flooding is the most common natural disaster in the U.S. Flash floods can come with little or no warning, so the time to prepare is before the water begins to rise.
Before a flood, you should know what type of flood risk your home faces. You can find this out by searching your address on FEMA’s Flood Map Service Center. Stocking up on supplies is always a good idea in the event of natural disaster.
Also, keep important documents in a waterproof container in case your home is flooded.
Flood insurance is also very important for keeping your home safe.
“The best thing you can do before a flooding event is make sure you have the appropriate insurance in place, whether you’re in a flood zone or not," said Carl Dombek of the Disaster Association with the U.S. Small Business Administration. “Because if you are flooded and if a disaster is declared, the help is going to be to the extent that you are not covered by insurance and that means you will have to pay back a low interest loan if we’re able to make one. If you have insurance, that’s money you don’t have to.”
If you can’t get insurance, there are other options to protect your family and your home.
“There are other things your can do in terms of mitigation," Dombek said. "For example, if grading your property would keep the flood waters away from your home or your business, that’s a good way to help mitigate potential flood disaster damage.”
You can also protect your property by moving valuables to higher ground, decluttering drains and gutters and installing check valves.
During a flood, make sure you are in a safe location and stay informed on current warnings and flooded areas.
FEMA also advises you to “turn around, don’t drown.” Never walk, swim or drive through flood waters. Also stay off bridges over fast-moving water.
If your vehicle becomes trapped in rapidly moving water, you should stay inside, according to FEMA. If water begins rising inside the vehicle, seek refuge on the roof. If you are trapped inside a building, move to its highest level, but do not climb into a closed attic or you may become trapped. Only climb on the roof if necessary and signal for help.
For more information on flooding, visit Ready.gov.