WASHINGTON (Aug. 26, 2020) – As Gulf Coast residents brace for Hurricane Laura, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) urges residents to make preparations in case of catastrophic flooding this hurricane season, with a reminder that help may not come so easily while a disaster is happening.
“Every year we hear from people who stayed behind and had to be rescued from rising waters. Sadly, it’s often the same story. People think they will be okay, that their sandbags will hold, or they will just call 911,” says NAIC President and South Carolina Department of Insurance Director, Ray Farmer. “But it’s just not that simple.”
Furthermore, many Americans are completely unaware of designated hurricane evacuation routes. Below is a closer look at the mistaken beliefs often held by those inclined to ride out the storm.
Myth: “I don’t need to evacuate because the sandbags outside my home will keep it, and me, dry and safe.”
Reality: Sandbags can fail, and sometimes waters rise so high that they overtop DIY flood barriers. Also, you may be entirely cut off from emergency help even if your house stays dry.
Myth: “I don’t need an evacuation plan or need to study evacuation routes because officials will tell me where to go, and when.”
Reality: Evacuation orders seldom provide much time to find emergency shelter, and it can be difficult to nail down details in the chaos. Knowing where you’ll go, and evacuating well ahead of a government order, are the only ways to guarantee your safety in a flood.
Myth: “Even if something goes wrong, help is just a phone call away.”
Reality: In many cases, emergency services are completely cut off along with cell service. Summoning help may become impossible.
Myth: “I need to stay behind to guard my belongings.”
Reality: It’s very difficult to keep anything dry once floodwaters start rushing into your home. The only sure way to protect your possessions is to keep documentation of your valuables, buy a flood insurance policy, and evacuate to higher ground.
Myth: ”I’ve ridden out storms before. This one will be no different.”
Reality: Every storm and flood event are unique, and catastrophic weather events have grown more common in recent years.