We are wrapping up National Preparedness Month by focusing on the most common natural disaster in the US – flooding. Flooding is a temporary overflow of water in areas that are normally dry. It can develop slowly or without warning and can be caused by rain, snow, coastal storms, storm surges, and overflows of dams or other water systems. The Department of Homeland Security provides actions you can take to prepare and respond during disasters through their ready.gov website. Here are their recommendations for flooding.
Preparing for a Flood
- Practice evacuation routes, shelter plans and flash flood response.
- Restock your emergency kit with at least three days of food and water, medications, first aid supplies, waterproof flashlight and batteries, cash and any other essentials. You need to be ready to leave at a moment’s notice.
- Keep important documents in a waterproof container.
- Take steps to protect your property by moving valuables to higher levels and decluttering drains and gutters.
Click here for additional things to know and do before the flood.
Surviving a Flood
Always evacuate immediately if told to do so. Failing to evacuate, entering flood waters or remaining after a flood has passed can result in injury or death. If you have advanced warning, go to a safe location during flooding.
- Do not walk, swim or drive through flood waters. All it takes is six inches of fast-moving water to knock you down or one foot of moving water to sweep your vehicle away.
- Stay off bridges over fast-moving water – they can be washed away without warning.
- If your vehicle is trapped in rapidly moving water, stay inside it. If water begins rising inside your vehicle, move to the roof.
- If you’re trapped in a building, go to the highest level. If necessary, continue onto the roof and signal for help.
After a Flood
You may want to return home immediately but wait for instructions to do so from local authorities. Be aware that snakes and other animals may be in your home due to the flooding, so wear heavy gloves and boots while cleaning up. Don’t touch electrical equipment if it’s wet or if you’re standing in water to reduce the risk of electrocution. Avoid wading through floodwaters which may contain debris or be contaminated.
For complete information about preparing for flooding, visit www.ready.gov/floods
Click here for more information and resources on preparing for disasters.