Survive a Flood

The First Tennessee Area Agency on Aging and Disability (FTAAAD), in conjunction with the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency (TEMA) and other First Tennessee area service agencies, has put together a disaster preparedness guide specifically for Tennesseans age 60 and older. 

We know Tennessee is at risk. Just because weather patterns produced a "500 year flood" or "1000 year flood" in 2010, that doesn't mean another one can't follow next year, or the year after that, or at any time in the future. Those names, those numbers, are predictions and not laws. When Mother Nature wants to wash us out, she will. If it happened once, it can happen again.  

Prepare for the Next Flood

  • Determine if you live in an area at risk for flooding. If so, check you homeowner’s insurance policy regarding flood coverage.
  • Maintain a disaster supply kit, including a local map.  (Refer to Disaster Preparedness Checklist)
  • Have written instructions on the procedures to turn off electricity, gas, and water supplies to your home. You'll be glad you have them if the authorities tell you to shut everything off. (Remember, your gas supply must be turned back on only by a professional!)
  • Have an evacuation plan which includes identifying potential places to stay and safe routes for travel. (That's where a map also comes in handy. During a flood, the road you planned to use may be washed out or under water.)
  • Keep important documents, information and valuables (or at least copies) in a safe-deposit box or fire-proof and waterproof container.
  • Have a radio (NOAA weather radio is recommended) with extra batteries in your home. *Wind-up or hand-cranked radios don't need batteries.

Terms to Know

Flood Watch:  A flood is possible in your area.

Flash Flood Watch:  A flash flood is possible in your area.

Flood Warning:  Flooding is already occurring or will occur soon in your area.

Flash Flood Warning:  Flash flooding is occurring or will occur soon in your area.

During a Flood Watch

  • Listen for updates on your radio or television.
  • If not a flash flood, move furniture and valuables to higher floors, time permitting.
  • Fill you vehicle’s gas tank in case you have to evacuate.

During a Flood Warning

  • Listen for updates on your radio or television.
  • Be prepared to evacuate immediately if authorities notify you or issue an evacuation notice through the media (radio and TV stations).
  • With a flash flood warning, evacuate immediately if you think flooding has already started.  You may have only moments to escape in a flash flood. Pay attention to the news and to what's going on around you. Many people make the mistake of waiting too long to get away from rising water. More than six inches of standing water or four inches of moving water can be a problem for a lot of cars. And even if you can enter the water with your vehicle, you'll have to move slower; you may be surprised by road damage; you may not be able to pass other vehicles stranded by the water; and you may damage your vehicle's engine. Why take the chance? If you know it's coming, leave before it gets there.