Flood Safety Tips

The local American Red Cross recommends the following safety tips when dealing with floods or flash flooding. Flooding is caused by heavy or steady rain for several hours or days causing water to saturate the ground. Flash floods occur suddenly due to rapidly rising water in a low-lying area. Floods are the most frequent and costly natural disasters.

When preparing for a potential rain storm or flood, it is best to prepare a flood survival kit so you can evacuate at a moment’s notice. Be sure to include the following in your flood kit:

  • Water (3 day supply)(1 gallon per person per day)
  • Food (3 day supply)(non-perishable items)
  • Flashlight
  • Battery powered radio (with extra batteries)
  • First-Aid kit
  • Medications (7 day supply)
  • Sanitation/personal hygiene items
  • Copies of personal documents
  • Cell phones and chargers
  • Family and emergency contact information
  • Extra cash
  • Emergency blanket
  • Extra clothing, hat and sturdy shoes
  • Rain gear
  • Insect repellent and sunscreen
  • Tools and supplies for securing your home

If a flood is predicted to occur in your area, be sure to do the following:

  • Listen to local TV and radio stations for weather updates
  • Be prepared to immediately evacuate if necessary (with your flood kit)
  • If a flood or flash flood warning is issued in your area, head for higher ground
  • Stay away from floodwaters. Six inches of swiftly moving water can sweep you off your feet
  • If you come upon a flooded road while driving, turn back. If you are trapped with water rising around you, get out of the car and move to higher ground. Most cars can be swept away by less than two feet of moving water
  • Be cautious at night when it is more difficult to recognize flood danger

When recovering from a flood, be sure to consider the following:

  • Return home only when officials have declared the area safe
  • Before entering the house, look outside for loose or damaged power lines, damaged gas lines, cracks in the foundation or other damage
  • Parts of your home may be collapsed or damaged. Be sure to approach entrances carefully and check that all roofs have support
  • Be cautious for wild animals such as poisonous snakes that may enter your home with the floodwater
  • If you smell natural or propane gas or hear a hissing noise, leave immediately and call the fire department
  • If power lines are down outside your home, do not step in puddles or standing water
  • During clean-up, wear protective clothing
  • Discard items that have come into contact with flood waters. When in doubt, throw it out!
  • Contact the Public Health Department to determine if your water supply is contaminated

Let Your Family Know You’re Safe

If your community has experienced a disaster, register on the American Red Cross Safe and Well website to let your family and friends know about your welfare. You may also call 1-866-GET-INFO to register yourself and your family.

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