Purdue Extension helps homeowners, farmers prepare for flooding

December 20, 2013  

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Indiana homeowners can prepare for possible flooding this weekend from a combination of melting snow and heavy rains by following a few easy steps to protect their belongings, a Purdue Extension disaster education specialist says.

Most flooding in Indiana typically is in basements or on the first couple of feet of a home's first floor, said Steve Cain, Purdue Extension Disaster Education Network Homeland Security project director. He suggests moving valuable belongings - pictures, diaries and such things that families consider too precious to lose - out of the basement or raising them several feet off the first floor, such as by placing them on a shelf or a stand.

"That will typically take care of most situations we find in flooding in Indiana," Cain said. "Some people forget that they have keepsakes in boxes stored in the basement until it is too late."

Homeowners also should consider raising water heaters, furnaces and washing machines off the basement floor to better protect them from flooding.

"There's not much you can do about that in the short term with only a couple of days' notice about possible flooding, but it's something that could be done in the longer term," Cain said.

He said farmers with pesticides in storage sheds should raise them above the ground and move tanks containing such material as anhydrous ammonia to higher ground or strap them down.

"If not, they will float in a flood and move on you," he said. "This time of year, anhydrous tanks shouldn't be a problem for most farmers."

Above all, Cain said, the foremost consideration should be for the safety of lives. Although he said Indiana rivers and streams are very low in most of the state and should be able to handle melting snow and rain this weekend, there could be flooding in some areas, especially if an ice dam forms on a river or creek that otherwise wouldn't flood.

"The No. 1 issue in a flood is taking care of life," he said. "There are people who have drowned in a flood because they were trying to save something and they got themselves into a bad situation."

As an example, Cain said motorists should not try to drive through a flooded street. His advice: "Turn around, don't drown."

Purdue Extension offers a free publication titled First Steps to Flood Recovery for homeowners. It is available at Purdue Extension's The Education Store at https://mdc.itap.purdue.edu/item.asp?Item_Number=ACS-101-W.

Farmers and agricultural retailers can learn how to prepare for a flood by reading Plan Today for Tomorrow's Flood, also offered in The Education Store at https://mdc.itap.purdue.edu/item.asp?itemID=20037#.UrR1a2RDsSh.

More flood resources are available on Purdue Extension's Floods and Storms webpage at: https://ag.purdue.edu/extension/eden/Pages/flood-info.aspx.

Writer: Keith Robinson, 765-494-2722, robins89@purdue.edu 

Source: Steve Cain, 765-494-8410, cain@purdue.edu

Ag Communications: (765) 494-2722;
Keith Robinson, robins89@purdue.edu
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