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Tips for Before, During, and After a Flood in Washington D.C.

Published by SEO on October 2, 2015 in category: Disasters, Floods

Tips for Before, During, and After a Flood

Hurricane Joaquin gained strength on Thursday off the U.S. coastline, reaching Category 4 status over the Bahamas. While there is speculation as to whether the bulk of the storm will make landfall or not, there will still be heavy rainfall and flooding in Washington D.C. and surrounding areas.

Joaquin is projected to reach the southeast coast this weekend, peaking late on Saturday through early Sunday morning, with forecasts projecting heavy rain, strong winds, and flash flooding.

Governors Larry Hogan and Terry McAuliffe of Maryland and Virginia, respectively, both declared a state of emergency. “While we are hoping for the best, we are preparing for the worst.” Said Hogan at a press conference on Thursday.

Emergency centers in the area are already on high alert. With so much at stake, what can an individual homeowner do to prepare for a flood? Here is everything you need to know before, during, and after a flood disaster:

Before a Flood: Prepping and Being Prepared

A severe weather disaster like a hurricane is an extremely scary event but with some preventive prepping and general preparation of your home, you and your family can minimize the potential damage. Here are 6 things you can do to prep for a tropical storm:

  1. Utilize the Red Cross
    The Red Cross National Capital Region is your go-to resource for all things emergency and disaster relief related in your area. They’ve got resources to plan & prepare for a disaster, including information for children. You can also get emergency alerts through AlertDC.
  2. Create a Disaster Survival Kit
    You should also have a disaster survival kit created in case of an emergency like a hurricane. Include non-perishable food, bottled water, flashlights, batteries, candles, and a first aid kit. Don’t forget to grab important emergency contact information and insurance documents, as well as any medications.
  3. Secure your Valuables
    Secure both personal possessions as well as the home itself. Move furniture, valuables, and important documents to a higher level in your home, such as the second floor. For safety purposes, shut off the main power supply, unplug electronics, and move hazardous materials to higher ground. Also, secure any outdoor items or furniture that may be picked up by high winds. If you have a mobile home, make sure it is anchored.
  4. Protect your Pets 
    In addition to protecting yourself and your family, make sure to take care of your pets. If your pet remains with you, bring enough food to last through the emergency and remember any pet medications as well. If you need a safe place for your pet, contact the Washington Humane Society. Additionally, both the Red Cross and the ASPCA has great disaster preparedness information for pets.
  5. Check in on Elderly Neighbors
    Before the hurricane hits ask any elderly neighbors you’re close to if they need assistance. Hurricanes and other disasters strike fast and often times, older residents aren’t prepared or physically can’t prep adequately. For tips on helping senior citizens, visit the Red Cross.
  6. Stay Informed
    Information is power during a disaster. In addition to utilizing the Red Cross website, download some of the Red Cross Emergency Apps on your iPhone or android smartphone. Remember to bring your phone charger with you if you have to evacuate.

Information to Stay Safe During a Flood

Once flooding occurs, the focus should shift to safety. Floods are extremely dangerous and life-threatening emergencies so the best tip 911 Restoration can give you is to always put the safety of you and your family first. During a flood emergency:


  • Relocate your family to higher ground. An attic or top floor of your home is much safer during a flood. If you become stranded on the road, seek higher ground on top of your car but be prepared to abandon it as well if water currents begin to move your vehicle. Only 12-18 inches of water can move a car.
  • Stay updated on the storm, even if the power goes out. This may mean investing in a battery-powered radio or television. Also, download the Red Cross app.
  • Let family members and friends know that you are safe by registering online at Safe and Well.
  • Call the Red Cross Emergency Response at (703) 584-8400, or the Washington D.C. Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency at (202) 727-6161 for emergency relief.
  • Go to an American Red Cross Reception Center or Shelter if you’re displaced due to Hurricane Joaquin or if you’re evacuating and need a safe place to stay.


  • Drive. If possible, avoid driving altogether. This is because when a flash flood strikes it happens fairly fast, resulting in roadways becoming unsafe and completely submerged in unsanitary flood water.
  • Forget to communicate with friends, family, and neighbors during a disaster. Also, call your employer if heavy rain or flooding causes roadways to close.
  • Panic, especially if you’re a parent. If you’re experiencing a true emergency call 911.

Recovery and Restoration after a Flood

Experiencing a severe weather event like a hurricane is a traumatic experience but sometimes, the aftermath is just as stressful. After a storm and specifically a flood the focus shifts to recovery and restoration efforts, which 911 Restoration of Washington D.C. can help with.

Floods and Water Damage

Along with heavy rain causing roof leaks, the biggest concern with weather like Hurricane Joaquin is flooding. Floods can come from a wide range of sources including pipe bursts and sewer system drainage issues, as well as local rivers or roadways overflowing.

A severe storm can cause flooding, down power lines, uproot tree roots that damage plumbing and pipes, as well as lead to countless other forms of water damage:

  • Category 1 Water, which is any water that comes from a water supply line like a bathtub or sink and doesn’t pose a significant health threat to humans
  • Category 2 Water, which is water that contains harmful contaminants and microorganisms like a toilet bowl that have the potential to make humans sick
  • Category 3 Water, which is the most dangerous form of water because it contains extremely harmful bacteria and fungi that can cause sickness, disease and even death if ingested

Once rain or flood water penetrates porous surfaces of your home or business you’ve got anywhere from 24-48 hours to address the water damage before your property and possessions become at risk for mold infestation and other health problems.

Floods and Mold

Stagnate water is a breeding ground for bacteria, mold, mildew, and other unwanted fungus so fast response to water damage is essential. Additionally, consumption of it or even exposure to it can lead to severe health risks including:

  • Allergies
  • Asthma
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Respiratory problems
  • Disease
  • Death

If the flood water inside your home is from an unsanitary source such as an overflowed river or sewage system, you and your family are much more at risk for a mold outbreak. That is because water is categorized based on the source and category 3 water is highly susceptible to bacteria and fungus growth:

Once a bacteria or fungus infestation develops, mold inspection and remediation by certified professionals will need to take place as soon as possible in order to mitigate the mold damage.

Let 911 Restoration of Washington D.C. be the calm after the storm. For a fresh start in your home or business, give one of our flood experts a call at (202) 350-2244 today.

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