How to prepare for flooding in rural areas
Have a plan to “shelter in place” if roads become impassable, says Ken Hellevang, a North Dakota State University Extension Service agricultural engineer and flood expert. The shelter should have everything needed, such as communication devices, food, water, electricity, fuel, medical kit and emergency transportation.
Hellevang reccommends the following to prepare for a flood in your home and on your acreage:
- Assemble supplies, such as water and food, that don’t require refrigeration or cooking. Have a battery-powered flashlight and radio, plus extra batteries in case the electricity goes off.
- Have an emergency power source such as a standby generator. This is critical if you have livestock confinement buildings that need ventilation.
- Move or prepare to move important documents.
- Take steps to reduce the chance of contaminants entering your well. If the well likely will be affected by the flood, turn off the electrical power to the well and seal it by installing a watertight cap or cover. If you don't have time to install a watertight cap, cover the top of the well with heavy plastic sheeting and secure it with electrical or strapping tape or some other type of waterproof taping material. Don't use duct tape because it is not waterproof.
- If your septic system’s drain field may be flooded or saturated, plug all basement drains and drastically reduce water use in the house. Don’t run water from a basement sump pump into the septic system or let water from roof gutters or the sump pump discharge into the drain field.
- Plug floor drains if flooding is occurring next to the house because water can flow back through the septic system. Unbolt toilets from the floor and plug the outlet pipe, shower drains, washing machine and basement sink drain.
- Move machinery, feed, grain, fuel and agricultural chemicals, such as pesticides and herbicides, to higher ground.
For a complete list of flood preparation tips, visit NDSU Extension Service.
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