Flood Safety Tips for Houston Residents

by Terry Bryant

Houston residents are no strangers to floods. They have become an ever-present reality in our lives over recent years, and our city’s infrastructure is obviously struggling to meet the demands caused by flash floods.

When the skies open and the rain floods our roads, drivers are put in a very dangerous situation. Some parts of Houston are more susceptible to flooding than others, as the Houston Chronicle pointed out in an article about the areas of our city that are most vulnerable to flooding. The article lists Telge Road near Spring Cypress Road, Interstate 45 near Crosstimbers, White Oak Drive near Beauchamp Street, and more than 25 other spots that pose flood risks to drivers.

The Houston Chronicle says that in a two-month span (between January and March of 2015) about 150 flooding incidents were reported on Houston streets. Being caught in the middle of a flash flood can be a scary experience, a fact that Houstonians know all too well. However, knowing what to do in the event of a flood can make you safer and help take some of the anxiety out of the situation.

Here are a few flood-safety tips to keep in mind:

  • Never enter a flooded area, either on foot or in a vehicle. As the Department of Homeland Security points out, even six inches of flood water can knock someone off their feet, and two feet of water can sweep away a vehicle.
  • If you are trapped in your vehicle during a flood, attempt to reach higher ground. Never enter moving water unless there is no other option.
  • If your vehicle is flooding, attempt to find a pocket of air. If possible, roll a window down slowly and try to swim to the nearest safe location. This is the last resort in an emergency.
  • Prepare your vehicle and home to be ready in the event of a flood. Have flotation devices and emergency kits on hand. Know how susceptible your location is to a flood risk.
  • After flood waters recede, be mindful of areas that were covered in water, which might be eroded and unsafe. Avoid standing water at all costs.

It’s worth restating the fact that preparation is the best way to avoid the dangers of flooding. If you have elderly relatives who live in areas where floods are likely, help them prepare for a flood by stocking their homes with a safety kit. When there are flood warnings, take advantage of the warning by readying your home and vehicle, and looking after loved ones who might be vulnerable during a flash flood.

Insurance is also an important part of preparing for the possibility of a flood. Flood insurance is especially important for those who live in areas that are more prone to flooding. Unfortunately, even flood insurance policyholders may experience some difficulties getting adequate compensation from insurance companies. To help maximize that compensation, take plenty of pictures of any flood damage you experience after a flood.

Floods will likely continue to be a part of life in Houston for some time to come, so taking proper flood safety precautions is more important now than ever before.