Flood Preparation and Safety
All floods are not alike. Some floods can strike quickly and without warnings while others develop slowly over a period of days. Some floods can cover entire counties while others only affect a small stretch of land. Being prepared before, during and after a flood can provide property protection and insurance, but most important, it can protect lives.
Before a Flood
- Prepare your family and have a Family Disaster Plan in case of evacuation or confinement. Consider the requirements of young children, the elderly, those with special needs, and pets. Practice and maintain your plan.
- Create an inventory of your property content's approximate value. Keep the list, insurance policy, photos of valuables and receipts from valuables in a waterproof safe or safety deposit box.
- Clean off storm drains near your home or business, removing any debris, leaves, and litter.
- Report major stream blockages to the Richland County Ombudsman’s Office.
- Create an emergency supply kit.
- Have a battery-operated flashlight. Also have a battery operated radio, TV, or internet access that does not rely on electricity.
The County utilizes various radio and television stations to provide warnings to the County citizens:
During a Flood
- Listen to the local TV or radio stations or check the internet for the most up to date flood warnings and watches.
- If told to evacuate, do so immediately. Do not leave your pets behind.
- Turn off water, electricity, and natural gas at your home.
- Do NOT drive through flood waters or around road barriers as the road or bridge may be washed out. It only takes 18”of water to carry a vehicle away.
- Do NOT walk through flowing or flood waters. Flowing water as shallow as 6” can knock you off your feet.
- Do NOT let children play in or around flooded creeks, streams, or floodwaters that may be within the road.
- Stay away from power and electric lines.
- Avoid contact with floodwaters as they may be polluted with raw sewage. bacteria, motor oil, chemicals, and other contaminants.
After a Flood
- Do NOT go into a building until all floodwater has receded and emergency officials indicate it is safe to return.
- Avoid contact with any remaining floodwater as it may be contaminated.
- Have a licensed professional check for any damage to water, electric, natural gas, or sewer lines.
- Report any downed power lines.
- Listen for reports as to whether the County’s water is safe to drink. If there is any concern on the safety of the water, bring it to a rolling boil for a one minute prior to consumption.
- Throw away any food, including canned food, that comes into contact with flood waters.
- Discard or disinfect other items that came in contact with flood waters. Floods can carry raw sewage, dangerous chemicals, and germs.
- Watch out for animals that may have been displaced due to flood waters.
- Contact your insurance agent. Document the damage to your home with pictures and/or video.
- Ask for help if and when you need it. The local chapter of the American Red Cross can provide assistance following natural disasters.
- Take care of yourself. Recovering from a flood can be a stressful event on both the mind and body. Learn how to recognize and care for stress and fatigue in addition to any physical health issues.
- Construction after a flood may require a Floodplain Development and/or Building Permit. You can apply for these permits online through the County's eTrakit permitting website.
- Be sure to contact the County’s Building Department prior to any reconstruction.