Floods can affect millions of people. Each year, floods are considered billion dollar weather disasters. In fact, floods are the #1 weather disaster each and every year in terms of economic losses. The range of damages after a flood can be major or minor. Examples of major damages include total loss of housing, crop failure, and death. Minor flood damage can include a small amount of seepage in the basement or crawlspace. Your car may also become flooded. No matter what the damage, keep these 20 flood safety tips in mind.

1. Wading Through Flood Waters
Wading through flood waters is dangerous for several reasons. First, flood waters can be moving at a rapid pace. Before you know it, you can be swept away and drown. Next, flood water can contain hundreds of different chemicals that are harmful for the body. In addition, bacteria and other microorganisms can cause disease and infection.

2. Driving in Flood Waters
Driving in flood waters is dangerous and risky. Cars can be swept away in just a few inches of water. You can become stranded, or worse...

3. Having an Expired Flood Insurance Policy
Flood insurance can protect you from an unexpected flood. Typically, the people that assume they do not need flood insurance are the people most affected by flood damages.

4. Not Listening to Flood Stage Warnings
Every river has its own unique flood stage. Every single time a warning is posted for floods, be prepared. Many people assume they are not in a location to be affected by a flood, but this is not true. Once a river reaches flood stage, the results can be disastrous.

5. Misunderstanding the Dangers of Mold and Mildew
Mold after a flood can cause major problems even years after flood waters have receded. When hurricane Ike ravaged Texas, millions of tons of debris had to be removed because of growing mold and mildew problems.

6. Using Electricity After the Flood
Always remember that electrical lines and water do not mix. Standing in water and attempting to remove electrical wires is plain dangerous. Also remember that even if you do not have power in some locations in your house, not all the lines could be dead.

7. Handling Animals After a Flood
Snakes, rodents, and stray animals can be extremely dangerous after a flood. From bites to diseases, never handle or approach animals after a flood. Keep in mind that insects are also a huge nuisance after a flood and can carry diseases.

8. Forgoing Protective Clothing and Gloves
Always wear protective clothing and gloves after a flood. Chemicals, animals, and debris can cause serious illness or injury. It is also a good idea to wear a protective mask when cleaning up after a flood. Many of the chemicals or mold can cause respiratory problems.

9. Driving on Previously Flooded Roads and Bridges
Floods can damage roads and bridges. Unseen structural damage can mean it is not safe to drive on previously flooded roadways. Be sure that the area has been inspected by officials and approved for travel.

10. Passing on a Home Inspection
You should have your home inspected after a flood for unseen damages. Structural problems are not always apparent once the flood waters recede. A good inspector will check the structure of the house, the electrical system, the heating and cooling system, the sewage system, and more.

11. Ignoring Your Septic Tank or Sewage System
If your house is flooded, so is your septic tank or sewage system. Raw sewage is extremely dangerous and can carry a multitude of infectious agents. Be sure your plumbing system is in tact before resuming your daily routines in your home.

12. Drinking Water After a Flood
Unless you get an official okay from your township or city, do not drink the water. Whether you have a well, spring water, or city water, the system may have been contaminated by flood waters. Have a professional test your water after the flood to be sure. Until then, drink bottled water.

13. Lighting Candles in a Building
Candles are a staple of emergency equipment. Why would lightning a candle be bad after a flood? The main reason for not lightning a candle is the possible presence of flammable liquids such as oil and gasoline. Lightning a candle in a flooded building could create a fire emergency on top of the flood emergency.

14. Forgetting to Keep Immunizations Current
Have you had a tetanus shot in the last ten years? Are your immunizations current? Floods can cause diseases because of the mix of microorganisms within the flood waters. Keep yourself and your children current on their immunizations to prevent problems.

15. Underestimating Carbon Monoxide
Carbon monoxide is a silent killer. Carbon monoxide is a colorless and odorless gas. Keep generators and gas-powered heaters in areas with good ventilation. Also make sure your home is well ventilated during clean up. It is also a good idea to keep a carbon monoxide detector in the home.

16. Failing to Take Photos
I always recommend keeping a disposable camera in your emergency supply kit. Photos of damages can help you to make a claim to your insurance company after the flood is over. The photos can also be used to document the extent of the floods. Finally, you may even be able to learn how to better protect your home from another flood if you live in a flood prone area.

17. Not Having a Weather Safety Kit
Even a small storm can cause a loss of power for days. Not having power, especially in the winter months can be dangerous. Always have a weather emergency kit available. The kit can be stored in a large plastic bin and put in the corner of your garage or a closet. Maybe you wil never use the kit, but maybe you will. Learn how to make a weather emergency kit.

18. Eating After a Flood
Foods in the pantry can be dangerous after a flood. High humidity and the spread of insects can cause even seemingly dry foods to become infested. Thrown out dry goods in boxes. Also throw out any foods that came in contact with the flood water.

19. Pumping Out a Basement Too Soon
Even after the flood waters have receded outside, your basement may be full of water. The level of water can vary, but even a small amount of water can cause structural damage. The most important point to remember is that water on the inside of the basement means there is water on the outside of the basement walls. The ground is typically saturated after a heavy storm. If you pump out the basement too soon, you could be looking at costly structural damage to your home. You may even experience a total wall collapse.

For more safe activities and tips, check it below:

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Author's Bio: 

Graeme Stephens has been running the largest owned carpet cleaning company in new Zealand for 24 years. IICRC qualified "master restoration technician"