10 Flood Safety Awareness Tips
Only 5% of the land in South Elgin is located in a 100-year floodplain: the Otter Creek Floodplain at the western edge of the Village, and the Fox River Floodplain in the center of town. Flooding, though, can happen anywhere and cause significant damage a basic home insurance policy may not cover. Many times, flooding along the Fox River and Otter Creek can be predicted in advance, giving ample warning for preparation and evacuation. In the event of a flash flood due to a large rain event, however, you may be the first to notice the oncoming situation and have only hours to execute your plan.
How to Prepare for a Flood:
- Know Whether You Live in a Flood Zone. To find out if your property is located in the floodplain, visit the Village's interactive “Flood Hazard Map” located on the Village's website at southelgin.com, or contact the Community Development Department at (847)741-3894.
- Consider Buying Flood Insurance. If you find that your home is at medium- to high-risk for flooding, consider buying flood insurance. Many basic home insurance policies do not protect against flood damage. Keep in mind, flood insurance doesn't go into effect until 30 days after the purchase date, so it's important to invest in the necessary coverage as soon as possible.
- Have Supplies to Get You Through the Flood Event. Be sure to have enough supplies to keep you safe for several days. Stock up on drinking water and non-perishable food to last your entire family. Have batteries, dry clothes, blankets and medication stored in a location high enough that minor floodwaters won't reach. And don't forget about supplies for your pets!
- Move Valuables and Important Documents. Since flooding can be unpredictable, move any valuable items to higher ground. You'll want to move TVs, electronics and anything else of value to the second floor or attic. Keeping important documents like insurance papers, social security cards and passports in a waterproof container or safety deposit box helps keep them safe and dry.
- Keep up with Home and Yard Maintenance. Ensure there are no leaks in your roof or siding. Clean out gutters, as backed up gutters and downspouts can cause serious damage during heavy rains. Pick up loose debris, sticks and branches, and leaves in your yard which may impede drainage.
- Do not walk or drive through flowing water. Currents can be deceptive, as 6” of water can knock you off your feet. Roads may be washed out or there may be sinkholes under the flood water. The best way to stay safe from floodwaters is to avoid them entirely.
- Keep away from power lines & electrical wires. Downed power lines can hurt or kill you even if they don't spark or hum. Electrical current travels through water.
- Be alert to gas leaks. Turn off the gas to your house before it floods. Do not use candles, lanterns or open flames if you smell gas or are unsure if your gas has been shut off.
- Do not use gas engines, such as generators, or charcoal fire indoors during power outages. Carbon monoxide exhaust is a severe/fatal health hazard.
- Clean everything that has been wet. Flood water will be contaminated with sewage and other chemicals which pose severe health threats.