Preparing for Floods/Flash Floods
Preparing for Floods
Find out if you live in a
flood-prone area from your local emergency management office or Red
Ask whether your property is above or below the flood stage water level and
learn about the history of flooding for your region.
Learn flood warning signs
and your community alert signals.
Request information on
preparing for floods and flash floods.
If you live in a
frequently flooded area, stockpile emergency building materials.
These include plywood, plastic sheeting, lumber nails, hammer and saw, pry bar,
shovels, and sandbags.
Have check valves
installed in building sewer traps to prevent flood waters from backing up in
As a last resort, use large corks or stoppers to plug showers, tubs, or basins.
Plan and practice an
Contact the local emergency management office or local American Red Cross
chapter for a copy of the community flood evacuation plan.
This plan should include
information on the safest routes to shelters. Individuals living in flash flood
areas should have several alternative routes.
Have disaster supplies on
Develop an emergency
- Flashlights and extra
battery-operated radio and extra batteries
- First aid kit and
- Emergency food and
- Non-electric can opener
- Essential medicines
- Cash and credit cards
- Sturdy shoes
In case family members are separated from one another during floods or
flashfloods (a real possibility during the day when adults are at work and
children are at school), have a plan for getting back together.
Ask an out-of-state
relative or friend to serve as the "family contact." After a disaster,
it's often easier to call long distance. Make sure everyone in the family knows
the name, address, and phone number of the contact person.
Make sure that all family
members know how to respond after a flood or flash flood.
Teach all family members how and when to turn off gas, electricity, and water.
Teach children how and
when to call 9-1-1, police, fire department, and which radio station to tune to
for emergency information.
Learn about the National
Flood Insurance Program.
Ask your insurance agent about flood insurance. Homeowners policies do not cover
DURING A FLOOD WATCH
DURING A FLOOD
- Listen to a
batter-operated radio for the latest storm information.
- Fill bathtubs, sinks,
and jugs with clean water in case water becomes contaminated.
- Bring outdoor
belongings, such as patio furniture, indoors.
- Move valuable household
possessions to the upper floors or to safe ground if time permits.
- If you are instructed
to do so by local authorities, turn off all utilities at the main switch and
close the main gas valve.
- Be prepared to
- Turn on
battery-operated radio or television to get the latest emergency
- Get your pre-assembled
- If told to leave, do so
If In A Car:
- Climb to high ground
and stay there.
- Avoid walking through
any floodwaters. If it is moving swiftly, even water 6inches deep can sweep
you off your feet.
- If you come to a
flooded area, turn around and go another way.
- If your car stalls,
abandon it immediately and climb to higher ground. Many deaths have resulted
from attempts to move stalled vehicles.
DURING AN EVACUATION
- If advised to evacuate,
do so immediately.
- Evacuation is much
simpler and safer before flood waters become too deep for ordinary vehicles
to drive through.
- Listen to a
batter-operated radio for evacuation instructions.
- Follow recommended
evacuation routes--shortcuts may be blocked.
- Leave early enough to
avoid being marooned by flooded roads.
Flood dangers do not end
when the water begins to recede. Listen to a radio or television and don't
return home until authorities indicate it is safe to do so.
Remember to help your
neighbors who may require special assistance--infants, elderly people, and
people with disabilities.
Inspect foundations for
cracks or other damage.
Stay out of buildings if
flood waters remain around the building.
When entering buildings,
use extreme caution.
Look for fire hazards.
- Wear sturdy shoes and
use battery-powered lanterns or flashlights when examining buildings.
- Examine walls, floors,
doors, and windows to make sure that the building is not in danger of
- Watch out for animals,
especially poisonous snakes, that may have come into your home with the
flood waters. Use a stick to poke through debris.
- Watch for loose plaster
and ceilings that could fall.
- Take pictures of the
damage--both to the house and its contents for insurance claims.
Throw away food--including
canned goods--that has come in contact with flood waters.
- Broken or leaking gas
- Flooded electrical
- Submerged furnaces or
- Flammable or explosive
materials coming from upstream
Pump out flooded basements
gradually (about one-third of the water per day) to avoid structural
Service damaged septic
tanks, cesspools, pits, and leaching systems as soon as possible. Damaged sewage
systems are health hazards.
INSPECTING UTILITIES IN
A DAMAGED HOME
Check for gas leaks--If
you smell gas or hear blowing or hissing noise, open a window and quickly leave
the building. Turn off the gas at the outside main valve if you can and call the
gas company from a neighbor's home. If you turn off the gas for any reason, it
must be turned back on by a professional.
Look for electrical system
damage--If you see sparks or broken or frayed wires, or if you smell hot
insulation, turn off the electricity at the main fuse box or circuit breaker. If
you have to step in water to get to the fuse box or circuit breaker, call an
electrician for advice.
Check for sewage and water
lines damage--If you suspect sewage lines are damaged avoid using the toilets
and call a plumber. If water pipes are damaged, contact the water company and
avoid the water from the tap.