Flood Safety Tips

Be Prepared:
Terms:
Flood Watch: Flooding is possible in your area. Monitor local media channels and listen to your NOAA weather radio.
Flash Flood: Rapid flooding, usually in low lying areas. Water floods with great force.
Flash Flood Watch: Flash flooding is possible in your area. Monitor local media channels and listen to your NOAA weather radio.
Flood Warning: Flooding is occurring or will occur in your area. Move to higher ground and listen to local media for evacuation orders.
Flash Flood Warning: A flash flood is occurring. Seek higher ground and listen to local media for evacuation orders.

Prepare:

  • Create an emergency preparedness kit with a 72-hour supply of water, including three gallons per person.
  • Scan and store important documents on an online, cloud-based program.
  • Put important documents and valuables in a water-proof container on the top floor of your home.
  • Understand how to safely turn off electricity and gas lines in your home.
  • Create an inventory of your household items and take photos of the interior and exterior of your home.
  • Consider installing sewer backflow valves to prevent flood water from backing up into your home through drain pipes.
  • Double-check sump pumps to ensure they are working properly. If possible, have a battery backup system.
  • Keep materials like sandbags, plywood, plastic sheeting and lumber handy for emergency water-proofing.
  • Find out how many feet your property is above and below possible flood levels. When predicted flood levels are broadcast, you can determine if you may be flooded.
  • Rise or flood-proof heating, ventilating and air conditioning equipment by elevating equipment above areas prone to flooding. Another method is to leave equipment where it is and build a concrete or masonry block flood wall around it.
  • Anchor fuel tanks. Unanchored fuel tanks can be easily moved by floodwaters.

Driving in Flood Conditions:

  • Six inches of water will reach the bottom of most passenger cars causing loss of control and possible stalling. A foot of water will float many vehicles.
  • Two feet of rushing water can carry away most vehicles including sport utility vehicles (SUVs) and pickups trucks.
  • Do not attempt to drive through a flooded road. The depth of water is not always obvious.
  • The road bed may be washed out under the water, and you could be stranded or trapped.
  • Do not drive around a barricade. Barricades are there for your protection. Turn around and go the other way.
  • Do not try to take short cuts--they may be blocked. Stick to designated routes.
  • Be especially cautious driving at night when it is harder to recognize flood dangers.

Flood-Specific Items to Add to Preparedness Kit:

  • Extra Bottled Water - Faucet water may be contaminated during flooding
  • Map of Local Evacuation Routes

Be Safe:
Signs:

  • Heavy rainfall
  • High river and lake levels
  • Dams in the area

During:

  • Turn off utilities if instructed to do so. Disconnect all electrical equipment.
  • Do not walk through moving water. Six inches is enough water to knock you down.
  • Do not drive in flooded areas. Six inches of water can cause you to lose control and two feet of water can sweep away your car. Remember: Turn around, don't drown.
  • Listen to local media reports for information about if the water supply is safe to drink.
  • Avoid contacting flood waters because they can be contaminated by hazardous liquids and may contain sharp debris.
  • Report and stay 25 feet away from downed power lines.

After:

  • Listen to local media reports for information about if the water supply is safe to drink.
  • Avoid flood waters because they can be contaminated by hazardous liquids and may contain sharp debris.
  • Be aware of areas that were previously flooded. The roads may be weakened.
  • Report and avoid downed power lines.
  • Clean and disinfect anything that was wet from the flood. Throw away any food that was touched by flood waters.

More Information/Additional Resources:

http://www.ready.gov/floods