Hurricane Harvey: Prepare for flooding, know what to do if it happens

Are you ready for Hurricane Harvey and the flooding that it might cause locally?

Don’t panic, but start gathering some supplies in one central location. If you don’t have all these items, it’s OK. Food and water are your priority.

A Texas Department of State Health Services’ website,, recommends these items in your emergency kit, which should be a portable container:

  • Three-day supply of food that doesn’t need cooking. Pack protein like tuna fish and peanut butter and beans. Don’t forget the can opener.
  • One gallon of water per person per day. Many stores are already out. You can wash out old milk cartons or soda bottles and fill them with tap water. Fill up bathtubs as well as reserve water.
  • Baby items such as diapers, wipes, food and formula and bottles.
  • Pet supplies such as food, water, bowls, medication, litter box and litter, leashes, pet carriers and a photo of your pets if they get lost.
  • Hand sanitizer and wipes.
  • Bleach mix of 1/8 teaspoon per gallon of water.
  • Soap and personal care supplies.
  • Sunscreen.
  • Insect repellent.
  • Toilet paper.
  • Paper towels.
  • Garbage bags.
  • Prescriptions.
  • First-aid kit including bandages, compress dressings, first-aid tape, antibiotic ointment, aspirin, ibuprofen, instant cold pack, medical gloves, sterile gauze pads, triangular bandages for slings, roller bandages, thermometer, tweezers, scissors and first-aid instruction booklet.
  • Reading glasses and sunglasses.
  • Scissors.
  • Battery-powered or crank radio with batteries if you have them.
  • Matches and a lighter.
  • Whistle.
  • Flashlights and extra batteries.
  • Documents in a water-tight bag: photo ID, passports, Social Security cards and birth records; homeowner’s and flood insurance papers; bank account numbers; health insurance cards; photos of family members if you get separated; medical records, including medicines and dosage; phone numbers of friends and doctors; wills; mortgage paperwork and deeds; vehicle insurance, titles and loan paperwork; utility bills to prove where you live; inventory of the contents of your home if you have it; backup of your computer files; important keys.

Put in your car in case you have to evacuate:

  • Tent, blanket and pillows.
  • Plastic plates, cups and utensils.
  • Road map.
  • Car repair kit such as tools, tire patch, oil.
  • Rain gear.
  • Towels.
  • More food and water.
  • Clothes and sturdy shoes.
  • Books, games and toys.
  • Medical equipment.

Be prepared with these items:

  • Car with gas tank filled.
  • Cash, credit cards and checkbook.
  • Emergency contact numbers written down (not just in your cellphone).
  • Mobile phone charged and a charger.
  • Map of your evacuation route.

Know where these things are in your house:

  • Fire extinguisher.
  • Plastic sheeting and duct tape to seal doors and windows.

What to do if it begins to flood

If you have time:

• Move items you want to protect to a higher floor.

• Turn off major appliances such as stoves, water heaters and air conditioning units, and unplug TVs, microwaves and computers.

• Turn off gas, water and electricity to your home if you know how and can do it safely.

• Don’t touch electrical equipment if it is wet or you are in standing water, even if you think you turned it off.

• Put sandbags around your property.

If you need to evacuate:

• Evacuate immediately if you are told to do so.

• Maintain contact with family through social media and texts.

• Listen to weather alerts by text, radio and online news sources.

• Don’t drive or walk in roads, walkways or bridges that have water on them.

• Stay away from fallen wires, flooded areas and debris.

If you cannot evacuate:

• Call 911.

• Go to the highest level of the building.

• Don’t climb into a closed attic unless you are trapped otherwise.

• Do not go onto the roof unless you have no other choice.

• If you are en route to evacuate and cannot, turn around and go to a building on higher ground.

• If your vehicle is trapped, climb onto the roof.

• If you are outside, climb as high as possible on a sturdy object.

After the flood

• Wait to hear that it is safe to return before heading home, or that it is safe to go outside if you are already home.

• Throw out any food in the refrigerator or freezer if power was lost.

• Clean and disinfect anything that was wet, and air it out.

• Call your insurance company if anything was damaged.


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