Before the Storm

How to prepare your home for a flood if you live in a flood zone, flood plain, or flood-prone area. Things you need to know about FEMA, flood insurance, homeowner’s insurance, renters’ insurance, and car insurance.  Storm information and warning systems like the National Hurricane System and NOAA weather radio. Home protection products such as sandless bags, flood doors,  floodgates, and Quick Dams. Disaster preparedness plan. Supplies to have on hand. Tips, lists, and resources for storm preparation. 

During the storm

Deciding whether to evacuate or shelter in place. Items to take with you if you evacuate. Getting a flood insurance claim started.  Working with insurance adjusters and your rights. How to get rescued from a flooded home.  Addressing the needs of children and pets. What to do if you have to leave your pet behind.  Special concerns of the elderly and persons with disabilities. 

After the storm

Tear-out, decontamination, mold control. How to handle flood contaminated water and flooded belongings. Muck-out advice and drying of your home. Flooded automobiles. Hiring a contractor or being your own contractor. How to work with contractors and manage volunteers. Signing contracts and not being taken advantage of. Things to be aware of when considering selling your home to an investor. How to manage the mental and emotional stress of flooding. Flood brain trauma and healthy eating after a storm. Addressing children’s emotional health needs. How to live in a shelter or with strangers. Neighborhood crime prevention tips, post-storm. Real life stories of Hurricane Harvey rescuers and survivors. Details about the federal flood insurance policy. Developing community response teams (CERT) and other programs. And much more!

About the Book

According to FEMA, in the United States, you’re more likely to experience a flood than any other natural disaster.

If you or someone you know has recently become the victim of flood damage, you know exactly how traumatic such an experience can be. Not only does it cause substantial emotional and mental stress, but a flood also causes significant physical damage to property, which can prove to be incredibly expensive to repair.

But did you know that there are still things you can do to protect yourself and your family when the water starts to rise?

This book is written to show you how to prepare for and survive floods. Within the pages of The Complete Flood Guide, the authors reveal the risk that a flood imposes on humans and their well-being, share powerful tips on storm preparation, and provide practical steps that will help you deal with the effects of floods.

A complete guide

Helpful tips, real-life experiences shared by flood victims and volunteers and basic information for people who live in areas that are prone to storms and flooding.


1. Things you need to know if you live in a storm & flood-prone area

2. Before the storm

3. During the storm

4. After the storm

5. Muck-out advice

6. Cleaning and disinfecting

7. Beginning reconstruction

8. Flooded automobiles

9. Nasty flood water

10. Children and pets

12. Volunteerism

11. People stress

13. Flood insurance

14. Selling your damaged home

15. Stories shared by flood victims and heroic volunteers

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Dwan Reed

Dwan Reed is a licensed clinical social worker with a PhD in marriage and family therapy. She operates her own private practice, Elysian Counseling & Education, LLC, in Houston, Texas, where she provides individual and couples counseling. She is also a social work adjunct instructor for Fordham University.

Dwan and her family are survivors of the Tax Day flood and Hurricane Harvey. They know what it’s like to have to evacuate your home, lose most of your belongings, live in a cramped space, be taken advantage of by FEMA, and struggle to rebuild.

Dwan and her husband, Thomas, learned a lot about how to recover from such a catastrophe. It is Dwan’s goal to make sure that no one has to endure the aftermath of a devastating storm again without the information needed to recover effectively.

Marian Finnell

Marian Finnell has been an interior designer and hands-on decorator for over 25 years. Her secondary education in interior design propelled her into all aspects of new construction and remodeling. She managed her own fabricating workroom and developed skills and techniques of basic and artistic interior painting.

A native of Michigan, she became a Houstonian in 2001. Due to a desire to expand her professional life, she obtained a real estate license, and enjoyed working as a realtor for several years.

Her interior design skills and knowledge of real estate principles were heavily utilized after the two floods that damaged her neighborhood, including her own home. Because of the shortage of skilled workers in Houston after the floods, she and her husband had to do much of the contracting and finish work on their home themselves.

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Stocking Up

When you’ve gone to the grocery store and stocked up on everything you’ll need for several days, making the best use of your pantry space is important.  Here is an idea to get maximum usage out wasted wall space.  1 x 5 pine boards can be added to unused wall space so that you have easy access to canned goods and other small pantry items.  Nothing gets hidden and lost behind other items, as often happens on the wider shelves that most pantries are fitted with.  With the small items being stored on these narrow shelves, more space is freed up on the other shelves for the boxed items, large jars, gallon jugs, etc. Don’t wait until the news reporters are imploring us to get stocked up.  It is so much more relaxing and you can put more thought into your shopping if you do it when you have some spare time before a storm is in the forecast.

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Current Ocean Temperature-August 22, 2019

Now that I am a flood survivor, I’ve become much more active in searching weather information and researching how hurricanes form. An interesting fact that I recently learned from a documentary on hurricanes is that they form when cooler air in the upper atmosphere meets with the moist air rising from the warm waters of the ocean. That explains why hurricane season becomes more active as summer wanes and autumn approaches. We Houstonians, as well as most of the rest of the country, have had an extremely hot summer in 2019. I have not looked up the statistics, but the searing 3-digit temperatures have been around for weeks now. So this got me wondering about how the ocean temperature has been affected by this summer’s heat and I looked it up on Google. The answer was rather eye-opening. The water temperature recorded in the Gulf of Mexico near Houston was 88 degrees! This is two degrees higher than any recorded temperature on this day within the last ten years. Perhaps this warming of the oceans has something to do with NOAA’s recent upgrade in the likeliness of hurricane activity this fall. NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) forecasters cite the

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How Not to Drown from Flood Insurance

Managing your flood insurance claim At the time that you place the call to your flood insurance company, take notes so you will have a record of your claim number and any other important information you are given. You will be assigned to an adjuster. In my case, I was given the adjuster’s name and contact information so I could immediately get the necessary information by phone in order to begin the demolition process. Our adjuster also detailed the procedure for getting reimbursed for our damages. In talking with other flood victims, my friends had varying experiences with this process. Some were well taken care of from the beginning, and one was left hanging for months. As mentioned earlier in this book, there are many insurance companies that administer the flood policy; therefore, experiences will vary in how the claims are handled. In the case of a widespread disaster, the adjuster will not be able to get to you right away. Hopefully, you can talk with him/her on the phone to get the information you need regarding how much drywall to take out and other demolition details. You will be forwarded a spreadsheet that you will use to itemize your

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A Child’s Response to Flooding

There are many factors that affect how a child responds to a natural disaster, such as whether they have experienced significant past trauma, loss of family or friend as a result of the natural disaster, loss of a pet, loss of their home, relocation, how their parents are responding to the natural disasters, change in schools, separation from friends, loss of personal items, change in sleep schedule, significant financial issues for family, change in routine, no longer able to participate in regular activities, etc.. Youth are not usually as adept as adults at communicating their feelings verbally. Children tend to act their feelings out. Parents, grandparents, caretakers, and educators should pay special attention to a child’s verbal and non-verbal communication post-storm. It is easy for adults to become irritated with changes in behavior, yet the way a child acts signals how they are feeling emotionally. Let your child know that they are important to you and that you are interested in how they are feeling. Find others in your circle who are willing to support your child and spend time with them. Comforting physical touch is extremely important for children. Give your child lots of hugs and reassurance that everything

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After the Storm

When the storm has passed, and you must face the damage that has occurred to your home, try to stay positive. Keeping your wits about you will help you immediately get to work on what needs to be done in order to recover from this disaster. Give thanks that you are still alive, and then start to consider what needs to be done so that your environment does not damage your health. If your home flooded, the waters have left behind a lot of harmful bacteria, and the air is probably not healthy to breath. So, first OPEN THE WINDOWS to get some fresh air moving around your house. If you have air vents below the water level, remove the filters. If you have lined up help to remove your wet drywall, place that call before you get busy doing other things. Turn your power back on after consulting an electrician. Consult your HV/AC company to find out if there is anything special you need to do before you turn on your air conditioning. Don’t sign any contracts under duress at this time. First, check with your neighbors to see what they are paying for remediation services. The next chapter

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Top 5 Worst floods in US history

The worst floods in US history occurred more than a century ago. Few of them were expected and most regions lacked an adequate warning system. Many of those floods had problems with stability which was noted and ignored. Here are the top 5 worst floods in US history: 1) Johnstown On May 31, 1889, the South Fork Dam in Johnstown, Pennsylvania collapsed, leading to devastating flooding. The region had previously experienced heavy rains, which clogged the dam spillways.  There was more than $453 million in property damage, and an estimated 2209 people perished. 2) St. Francis Dam Failure The St. Francis Dam was opened in 1926 after two years of construction. Not long after construction was complete, cracks began to form on the surface of the dam. It collapsed on March 12th, 1928, killing 431.  3) Ohio River Flood The 1937 flood of the Ohio River, left an estimated 350 people dead and nearly 1 Million homeless. Rains and flooding persisted for a solid month, from January 5-February 5. 4) Great Dayton Flood The greatest natural disaster in Ohio’s history was the Great Dayton Flood, which killed 360 people,displaced 65,000 and destroyed tens of thousands of homes and businesses. 5)

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