An increased number of storms are resulting in massive floods in recent years, causing billions of dollars in devastation. Is your region next? How to Put together a Flash Flood Survival Kit..
Are you prepared for the next massive flood?
Torrential water is perhaps the most forceful, powerful and uncontrollable force we deal with in the natural world.
In a weather emergency or natural disaster – like hurricanes or coastal tsunamis from earthquakes or floods that wreak havoc and crush anything in their path – seeking high ground and shelter quickly are the only real means of surviving.
Bridges Out, Power lines Down, Water Contaminated
Bridges can wash out. Power lines can be ripped down from overhead. Tap water can become contaminated and immediately unsafe to drink.
Mud Slides, Roads Destroyed, Communities Torn Apart
Mountains and hills both can suddenly split apart, dumping entire communities to the valley floor below in a torrent of mud and debris that destroys everything in it’s path, a lot like a volcano eruption. Roads are ripped from the earth. Vehicles traveling at highway speed are suddenly gone.
Heavy Winter Snow, Sudden Spring Melt
Even a record snowfall in the winter months can create sudden flash flooding in spring if warmer temperatures melt snow at a higher rate, or even just heavy spring rains drown a region day after day, leading to historic and record breaking flooding that takes lives, destroys infrastructure, and leaves a lot of people empty handed, with just the clothes on their back. Homes are gone. Vehicles are destroyed. Belongings have disappeared. These survivors have nothing except tears, lost dreams, and the shocking reality that they are now homeless and dependent on the charity of others — if that ever comes.
Floods Are The Most Common Natural Disaster Affecting The Most People Annually
You may live at a high elevation and above a flood plain, but do you work or go to school in a flood plain? What if a flash flood takes place while you’re at work or school? If you currently live in a flood plain or a future flood plain (floods strike in new places, don’t forget that fact), you need to be prepared because the next storm that hits could rival Colorado’s “thousand year” storm back in 2013 that cut off entire towns and caused over 2 billion dollars in devastation. Maybe it’s time to think about moving.
Strategic Relocation – Where Do You Go?
When choosing a region to relocate to, researching the environment for hazards is a must. Determining if the intended area is prone to wildfires, severe snow or heat and especially flooding is a matter of great importance. Researching a planned relocation should include knowing the past history of weather, maps of the flood plain and location of dams, rivers etc. Even the best locations can see dramatic changes due to weather extremes, wind current changes and manmade disasters. A sudden relocation is a real possibility and having readily portable essential emergency supplies in a bug out bag or get home bag is an important part of survival.
Obviously, You Need Clean Water
… and you may need a lot of it. Water (it can’t be said enough) is an essential survival need and having a dependable and sustainable supply of clean drinking water is a life or death matter. But is that source of water a flood possibility?
Within the U.S., FEMA publishes flood plain maps and these should be in your survival library.
Stay Above Dams – Not Below
Dams that provide electrical power are targets for sabotage from hostile forces, foreign and domestic. Place your site above the dam so as to be safe if it becomes a target. Even desert areas can have almost instantaneous floods from rain. New Mexico, Arizona and the other SouthWest States see deadly flash floods and fatalities every year when horseback riders, cyclists and hikers do not heed weather reports and are trapped in ravines and arroyos.
Flood Emergency Evacuation
Portability Is The Key To Survival
In a flood emergency evacuation portability is the key to survival. Being able to move quickly and efficiently is critical. The likelihood of having to travel on foot due to washed out roads is a reality and all materials and supplies need to be easily transported by survival backpack or cart. That means having a bug out bag or get home bag ready to go.
If you have livestock its important to open up barns, stalls and fences and let the animals seek shelter. In recent storm emergencies, thoughtless owners abandoned their properties without giving their livestock a chance to save themselves as well as abandoning pets.
Here Is A List Of 15 Important Things To Include In Your “Bug-Out Kit” For Surviving The Resulting Damage From A Large Scale Flood
Water Filtration – Water is one of the absolute life necessities. Planning for beyond a minimal 3 days’ supply for each person will include being able to find water and make sure it is safe. Water filters such as Lifestraws will guarantee safe water for each member of the group beyond a portable supply in a new location where water is an unknown. If you end up without water filters you’ll need to build emergency water distillers which takes time – time you may not have in a critical situation. Alternatively, you’ll need to know how to harvest rainwater or find water in the wilderness – both useful survival skills to be sure, but they may not be possible at all in a flood situation.
Emergency Radio – In a non-EMP scenario FEMA and local authorities will be on the air transmitting essential information. A dependable emergency radio is a must-have. Manufacturers of emergency gear have really increased their usefulness in recent years. Kaito Radios can generate their own power supply and keep you in touch with life-saving announcements and official information. In emergencies rumors and fake news and disinformation are weapons of the enemy. Facts can save lives. Another option (ideally in addition to your emergency or handheld ham radio) is a survival two way radio which will help you maintain contact with your loved ones.
Portable cooking stove – Depending on weather conditions, a fire pit or dry wood may not be readily available. Emergency cooking and food preparation in a remote, low or no power area requires a portable stove and lightweight but dependable survival gear. The Solo Stove is a dependable and easily transportable solution to cooking needs over several days when bottled fuel for fuel burning stoves is not available. This Solo Stove comes with a kit for quickly and easily boiling water on the go, which means that if you run out of bottled water on an evacuation, you can purify water with this Solo Stove combo kit.
Shelter material – In an emergency “bug-out” situation, camping gear needs to be light weight and easily packed. Commercial tarps, readily available at big box tool and hardware stores are a good temporary solution for emergency shelter. Not only are these cheap but reasonably sturdy and are water resistant. Having a good-sized inventory of replaceable tarps, duct tape for repairs and basic tools to erect them can save lives by getting you quickly out of the rain or wind where you can then eat, rest, attempt phone calls, etc.
Basic hand tools – A quality multi-tool (check out our guide to the best survival multi-tools) such as a Leatherman or Swiss Tool will provide cutting, wire cutting, a small saw and two basic screwdriver blades. Here it is best to invest in quality and avoid over sophistication and too many tools at the expense of quality and usage. Stick to the basic blades and tools and get a good holster. A folding saw is essential for any small-scale wood construction work. Cutting tent poles, firewood and tasks that require a lager sturdy tool are some survival uses for a folding saw.
Quality backpack: – You will be carrying most of what you will need. Research the most useful and sturdy pack (refer to our article on the best survival backpacks) considering that we’re talking about flood evacuation, waterproof is best. You should also go with waterproof dry bags for storing survival food supplies, electronics, cash and identification, self defense items including firearms, and definitely for storing your sleeping gear and clothing. People who spend time outdoors in wet climates are known for having multiple dry bags of various sizes, including larger dry bags for tents and sleeping bags (we have recommended sleeping bags here). Back to that backpack — Military and tactical gear stores can be an excellent source, but don’t be fooled into buying a poor quality bag just because it looks “military.” Finally, learn how to pack each of your items and keep certain items easily accessible in case one or more are needed in a hurry.
Survival Sack Small essentials – Duct tape, baling twine, survival “space” blanket, sharpening tool, portable lighting (flashlights, headlamps, lanterns), and batteries (as well as backups) are some of the most important survival supplies you’ll want to have on hand. Farmers and ranchers know the strength and value of duct tape. It mends, holds together things and can patch shoes that are not easily replaced in a survival mode. It can take the place of a lost horseshoe in an emergency as well and be used to hold a poultice on a large wound. Baling twine is perhaps the cheapest and strongest multi-fiber cord known. It will outlast most ropes and twines and can be used to lash down a tarp-tent, create a barrier or fence and tie down a load. It can be doubled and tripled to increase strength as well. Another kind of cord you can consider is paracord, which is the cordage used in parachutes. Paracord is thicker than baling twine and in some cases can be separated into separate threads, each with different utility. If you want to carry around a solid length of paracord everywhere you go, read our post on the best survival bracelets and pick up one of these survival paracord bracelets to wear on your wrist.
Campers know about the super lightweight reflective space blankets that keep body heat intact. These are not only compact for storage but cheap enough to have a reasonable supply. A sharpening stone is essential to keep knives and blades sharp and in tune. WD-40 is essential for lubrication and cleaning of survival tools that become rusty or in reconditioning or bartered or “found “and salvaged items. Be sure to buy a non-aerosol container since the propellant can run out before the oil is finished.
Survival knife with dependable sheath – Folding knives are useful but the possibility of having only one hand to use in an emergency is a reality. With that in mind, a sheath knife can be used as a tool or weapon. Do your research and get the best you can afford, avoiding cheaply made offshore knives. We have a guide on how to choose the best survival knife which you should reference.
Heat packs – Commercially available, these chemical packs are activated and provide hours of warmth. They can be put in pockets, and bedrolls. They can also dry out boots and socks when a fire is not possible. Being cold and wet and wearing wet clothing can lead to serious hypothermia and shock. In the case of a flood, chances are you’re also dealing with colder weather (and definitely wetter conditions), so maintaining a heat source of some kind is an important consideration.
Rain slickers, chest waders, and thermal underwear – Keeping dry is a matter of external coverings and warmth preserving under wear. Preventing outer clothes from getting soaked will keep body core temperature at a normal level. Stress from survival can lower body temperature and lead to serious complications. A quality slicker and rain pants, farmer or utility worker grade and thermal underwear and spares are first-line protection. Of course experienced fishermen and women and flyfishers know first hand the usefulness for staying dry with chest waders.
Gloves / wool mittens – Keeping hands free from cold and frostbite and still allowing a range of movement is important. Think about military surplus shooters mittens. These are made with a trigger finger separation and can allow for a great deal of flexibility and use without removing them entirely. Mittens also keep the fingers together for warmth as well.
Extra head coverings: – Have a backup hat that can prevent heat loss. All members of the survival group should have a second hat covering that provides protection from sun and cold. Merino wool and wool alternative stocking hats and Merino wool balaclavas can make a huge difference in staying warm and can even be slept in, for a comfortable night’s sleep.
Sunglasses or ski goggles – Will keep the group moving in storms or other environmental conditions when travel is necessary. Eye injuries are the most difficult to deal with in emergencies. During high winds, and especially during any chill in the air, ski goggles can make a big difference in comfort level (here’s a lightweight balaclava and ski goggles in the same package) . Staying comfortable is the key to keeping yourself mentally awake and not fatigued by stress or the not-stop rain, winds, flood.
High energy foods – Snack bars, cereal bars, and pocket-sized food items can keep energy levels up in an emergency. Basically, you’re looking for high calorie survival foods. Avoid candy bars since the sugar will deliver the usual 15-minute surge followed by a lowering of energy. Unless your group is made up of young adults still in their prime, you may want to select flavors which appeal to everyone and avoid nuts or those which require serious chewing for those with allergies or dentures. Soft bars are the safest. As survival leader, you need to fit the needs of the group into the selection of foods. Young children and elders do not have the best teeth for digesting food bars with nuts, seeds or raisins no matter how many vitamins are contained.
Two-wheeled or four-wheeled cart – Rubbermaid makes two solid mold garden carts that are almost indestructible. They can carry loads up to 250 pounds, are light to lift and can be used to move cargo and even people. Wheelbarrows can tip easily, are not stable on rough terrain and have multiple parts. Remember to get the solid wheels since flat tires are not an option in a life or death situation.
Footwear – Quality boots that can not only insulate but are waterproof are an absolute necessity. Cold, wet feet can lead to problems that lead to major health issues. Make sure you have good tread on the soles of those boots – good traction is a serious issue since this will provide safe support in a muddy or snowy environment, especially when you have to climb slopes and are away from the pavement.
Escape Absolute Havoc – Your Gear And Wits Can Make The Difference
A manmade catastrophe, a natural disaster and other forces that can cause a devastating flood to wreak havoc unlike any other. The immense power of flowing water sweeps across landscapes and causes widespread destruction as well as changing the landscape. Roads and highways, utilities and power generation, loss of shelter, loss of life and much of what we depend upon for daily life will be gone. Staying ahead of flood waters and being able to start recovery depends on being prepared to move on a moment’s notice. Having survival kits with implements such as a few just listed will be critical factors in a life or death scenario.
What To Do If You Simply Can’t Escape In Time?
One more piece of survival gear for a flash flood not mentioned above — and overlooked by a lot of people — is a life vest. Experts recommend ways to build emergency flotation devices but that’s a lot of work and what if the device fails? A Coast Guard approved life vest is light-weight and can keep you above flood waters long enough to potentially enable you to swim to some kind of mass that will enable you to get out of the water, whether that’s a tall, sturdy tree or even the roof of a home or building.
As we mentioned already, be sure to also carry a two way radio, kept inside one of those dry bags discussed above; that way if your cell phone is out, you can still call for help over your two way radio, trying every channel until you can connect with either an emergency responder or someone able to put you in touch with an emergency responder.
That two way radio, dry bag, and life vest all work together to save your life that day.
Remember, in the world of survival, certain survival tools are proven life savers. Don’t forget that.
Gear Is Good – But Knowledge Is Critical
Even better is knowledge. So keep doing your reading, take key notes, and just maybe one day this website you’re reading SecretsofSurvival.com may save your life in some way you (or I, if those floodwaters hit my community) can’t quite foresee. You and I both have friends and family that go through their daily lives completely unaware that the increase in natural disasters is likely to only continue, and their region may be next. Maybe we should tell them while there’s still an opportunity.
With so much recent damage caused by the hurricanes in Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico, it might be great to bring up over the holidays on those family visits or simply a link shared by email or posted to social media today. Millions of people have already been affected by catastrophic storms and flooding with a lot of people losing everything they had and now they have nothing.
Is Moving Called For?
Our editor shared a story recently of a hard headed family member who finally left Florida after the most recent hurricane. She waited too long of course and missed the opportunity to sell her home while it was still worth a lot more, prior to the hurricane.
You can bet that a lot of property values in several parts of Florida and the Houston area of Texas are now worth a lot less and may be on the market a lot longer than if these homeowners had exercised some foresight and realized that these hurricanes just keep on coming — and they’re likely only going to continue.