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Natural Disasters

Flood And Flash Flood Safety Tips

flood and flash flood safety tips
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Are you in a flood prone area? Floods damage or destroy more homes than any other natural disaster.

Nobody can stop a flood, so prioritize you and your families safety.

Flooding happens when major storms and rising water levels cause rivers, lakes, and other waterways to overflow. Areas especially susceptible include valleys, plains, swamp lands, and places near large bodies of water.

Here are some safety tips to prepare for rising water, and what to do once a flood has begun.

Before The Storm

  • Watch out for flash flooding. If flash flooding could occur in your area, immediately  move to high ground. Don’t wait around for instructions.
  • Streams, canyons, and drainage channels can flood suddenly. Flash floods can occur in these areas even when there is no clouds and the sky is blue.
  • Put together an emergency survival kit on hand. Your kit needs to have at least three day of supplies for everyone in the household. It should include water (one gallon per person per day), non-perishable foods, a battery powered or hand crank radio, flashlight, a first aid kit, extra batteries, a weeks worth of medications, sanitation and personal hygiene items, a multi purpose tool, and copies of important documents.
  • Stay up to date by listening to the TV and radio. Learn the difference between a flood watch and a flood warning.

Evacuating During A Flood

  • Evacuate when a flood warning is issued in your area and head for higher ground.
  • Make sure you keep children and animals out of the water.
  • If the flowing water is above your ankles you should stop, turn around and find another way you need to go. Remember “turn around, don’t drown!”.
  • Secure your home by bringing in your outdoor furniture and move important items to an upper floor if possible.
  • Stay out of moving water. As little as six inches of moving water can make you fall. If you have to walk in moving water, walk where the water is calm and use a stick to check what’s in front of you.
  • If instructed to do so, turn off your utilities at your main breaker box or valves. Don’t forget to disconnect your electrical appliances. Remember not to touch electrical equipment if you’re wet or standing in water.

Driving In A Flood

  • Turn around and find another way if you run into a flooded road while driving.
  • Two feet of rushing water can carry away most vehicles including SUVs and pick-up trucks.
  • Six inches of water can cause loss of control and possible stalling in most passenger cars and one foot of water will float many vehicles.
  • If you can do so safely, abandon your car and move to higher ground if floodwaters rise around your vehicle. Otherwise, you and your vehicle could be quickly swept away.
Related Post:  DIY Emergency Kit To Survive A Natural Disaster

After a Flood

  • Have damaged septic tanks, cesspools, pits, and leaching systems serviced as soon as possible.
  • Wait until authorities say it is safe to return home.
  • Continue to avoid flood waters because they may be contaminated by gasoline, raw sewage, or oil. It might also be electrically charged from power lines.
  • Stay out of any buildings surrounded by flood waters.
  • Clean and disinfect anything that got wet because mud left from floodwater can contain sewage and chemicals.
  • Don’t walk in moving water.
  • Be careful when entering buildings that may have been damaged by flood waters.
  • Make sure your tap water is safe to drink by listening to news reports.
  • Be aware of areas where flood waters have receded because bridges and roads may have been damaged and could collapse.
  • Avoid downed power lines and report them to the power company.

Nearly every day of the year, flooding occurs in cities across America. Talk with your family about what to do. Discussing floods ahead of time helps reduce fear, especially for younger children. Consider preparing a pet emergency kit for your companion animals.

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