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NDSU Extension offers tips for flood preparation

Planning is a vital part of fighting a flood.

"Knowing what to do will help keep you and your family from panicking and having

to make last-minute decisions," says Ken Hellevang, NDSU Extension agricultural engineer and flooding expert.

NDSU Extension has several resources to help you prepare for a flood. Visit NDSU Extension'sflood website for more information.

Here are some tips to help you be prepared in case flooding occurs in your area:

• Check with local officials for information on the risk of flooding, listen to the radio, watch TV or visit your city or county's website for the latest flood information.

• Make sure your sump pump is operating properly.

• Move snow away from the house to limit potential for seepage into the basement. Also move snow away from the foundations of other buildings.

• Get downspouts in place so they carry melting snow away from your house.

• Build a dike around your home or other structure if flooding is expected or obtain supplies to build a dike.

• Keep water out of window wells. Build dams and contour the ground so water drains away from the house.

• Gather water, food that doesn't need cooking or refrigeration, a nonelectric can opener, battery-powered radio and flashlights and extra batteries in case you lose electrical power. A fuel-powered lamp, camp stove and fire extinguisher also are helpful.

• Verify that your tetanus vaccination is up to date. 

Protecting rural areas

• If you have a septic system and the drain field is 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, let water from roof gutters or the sump pump discharge into the drain field, use the dishwasher or garbage disposal, or do laundry.

• Move livestock, machinery, feed, grain, fuel and agricultural chemicals, motors and portable electric equipment to higher ground. Have an inventory of your livestock and other property, and a list of any hazardous or potentially hazardous substances.

• Anchor lumber, logs, irrigation pipes, fuel tanks and other loose equipment or material to keep it from floating away in floodwaters.

• Place riprap on the banks of earthen manure storage areas that may be subject to erosion.

• If you have a well that will be flooded, turn off the power to it and install a watertight cap or cover. If you don't have time to install a cap, cover the top of the well with heavy plastic sheeting and secure it with waterproof tape (not duct tape) to keep floodwater out.


• Assemble supplies for a possible evacuation. They include some water; nonperishable food; disposable plates, cups and utensils; clothing; blankets or sleeping bags; first aid kit; prescription medication; special items for babies or the elderly; cash and credit cards; and important phone numbers.

• Make an evacuation plan. Decide where you would go if you are forced to evacuate, such as a family member or friend's home or a local shelter. Know how to get there, especially if some streets or roads are flooded. Practice your plan.

• Designate a contact person for family members to call in case they get separated while evacuating. Make sure everyone has the contact person's phone numbers.

• Have a plan for pets. Shelters usually don't allow pets because of health issues.

• Keep your vehicle fueled in case you have to evacuate because gas stations may have been flooded or can't operate because of a power outage.

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North Dakota State University
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