Perhaps the biggest cause of flood-related deaths and injuries is lack of public understanding of the severity and danger involved with floods and flash floods. The following tips can help protect you during flooding events.
Know What to Expect from a WATCH or WARNING:
- Know your area's flood risk. If unsure, call the City-County Customer Service & Information Center. They will be able to direct your call.
- Know the difference between a WATCH and a WARNING. A flood watch means a flood is possible in your area. A flood warning means flooding is already occurring or will occur soon in your area.
- Be alert. If it has been raining hard for several hours, or steadily raining for several days, be alert to the possibility of a flood.
- Be prepared to evacuate. Identify places to go (friend's home, shelter, etc. if needed.) If told to leave, do so quickly.
- Fill your car's gas tank. Prepare a road map with two alternative routes marked.
- Listen to local radio or television stations for flood information.
Know What to Do When Driving or Walking in Flood Areas
- Never walk or drive in the flood waters. Many people are killed by driving or walking on roads and bridges that are covered by water. Even though the water might look only inches deep, it could be much deeper and with have strong currents. It only takes two feet of water to carry away a car and six inches of swiftly moving water will sweep a person off his feet.
- Never underestimate the swiftness of the water. Flooded creeks and streams are unpredictable. Even though the surface water may be smooth, the water is moving very fast.
- Don't assume your vehicle is safe. High water in streets and intersections will quickly stall motor vehicles. Most trucks, four-wheel drives, and sports utility vehicles also are susceptible to being swept away by high water. Such vehicles often give motorists a false sense of security, believing the vehicles are safe under any conditions.
- Find an alternate route around the flooded area. If you are approaching a flooded roadway, turn around and take an alternate route, even though vehicles in front of you may have passed through the high water.
- Never stay with your car in a flooded area. If your car stalls, abandon it immediately and climb to higher ground. Many deaths have resulted from attempts to move stalled vehicles.
- Never let children play near creeks or storm drains when the water is rising or high. Swimming skills have nothing to do with surviving a flooded creek or stream.
- Beware of items being washed downstream. Debris or garbage in the water may include tires, shopping carts, furniture etc. These items can easily injure or trap a person under water.
- Flood time is not a time for play. Flooded streams and rivers are not safe for recreational boating. Many canoeists and kayakers have been rescued from dangerous rapids in flood-swollen streams and rivers.
- Stay away from storm drains, irrigation ditches, creek and river areas.
- Barricades are for your protection. Do not drive through them.
Know What to Do if someone falls in or is trapped in flood water
- Do not go after the victim!
- Use a Floatation Device. If possible, throw them victim something to use as a flotation device (spare tire, large ball or foam ice chest).
- Call 911. Call for assistance. Give the correct location information on this water rescue situation.
Know How to Prevent Potential Flood Damage By:
- Elevating essential elements in your home. Raise your furnace, water heater and electric panel if they are in an areas of your home that may be flooded. You may also wish to consult a professional for other damage reduction measure you can take.
- Be aware of the weather situation. If you live in a low-lying area or near a creek, pay close attention to water levels during heavy rain events. Water levels rise rapidly during flash floods, often surprising victims. Heavy rainfall upstream can cause a river or stream to rise quickly, even if it is not raining near you. Be prepared to move quickly to higher round if water levels begin rising. Quickly responding to an evacuation order can save your life.
- Don't camp near a flooded stream. Never set up a tent or camper on the bank of a river or stream. It is best to allow some distance between the campsite and water so if a flash flood does occur, you will have more time to move to higher ground.
Know How to Prepare for a Flood:
- Plan ahead. Prepare a family disaster plan.
- Purchase Insurance Coverage. Before it rains, check to see if you have insurance that covers flooding. Keep insurance policies, documents and other valuables in a fire proof/water proof box.
- Assemble a emergency/disaster kit
- If a Flood Watch is issued, more your furniture and valuables to higher floors of your home. Fill your car's gas tank in case an evacuation notice is issued.
- If a Flood Warning is issued, listen to local radio or television stations for information and advice. It told to evacuate, do so as soon as possible. Follow recommended routes. Shortcuts may be blocked.
Return to Be Prepared