Taking the necessary steps to ready your home and family before a flood is part of any good emergency preparedness plan. If you missed our previous article, learn what you can do right now to make your home flood-ready. When the threat of flooding is imminent, there are additional steps to take to ensure your safety during the emergency.
But first, let’s cover the different types of warnings you may receive to alert you to potential danger.
Flood Advisory – Be Aware
Issued when a forecasted weather carries the risk of flooding. An advisory is issued when flooding is not deemed to be significant enough for a warning. While they may only be inconvenient, even minimal flooding can lead to danger if you are careless.
Flood Watch – Be Ready
Issued when weather conditions may cause flooding. Flood watch alerts do not mean flooding will occur, but there is a strong possibility.
Flood Warning – Take Action
Issued when flooding is imminent or already occurring. If you receive a flood warning, take immediate steps to prepare your home and ensure your safety.
What to Do
Listen to local radio, TV and other media channels to stay updated on changing weather, conditions and threats.
Get to Higher Ground
If you are in an area prone to flooding, move to high ground immediately. If this means evacuating your home, take additional steps to leave it safely:
- Turn off all power at the main switch and close any gas valves.
- Arm your security system. Even with power off, the backup battery will keep your system active.
- Tie down or bring outdoor items inside so they won’t be carried away by rushing waters.
- Fill large containers such as bathtubs and sinks with clean water after you’ve disinfected and rinsed them first.
- Gather your emergency kit and family members together and plan your route before you leave.
If you must evacuate, do not drive or try to cross flooded roads. Both people and vehicles can be easily swept away by rushing water. Only six inches of moving water can knock a person off their feet. 12 inches of moving water is enough to sweep a car or SUV away.
There may also be hidden dangers beneath the surface such as active power lines and sharp objects.
Following the tips above will help you and your family survive a flood safely. In our next article, we’ll cover what to do after the flooding to help you recover faster.
In the meantime, download and print a copy of the CDC’s Be Ready for Floods one page guide. And continue to visit FEMA’s Ready.gov web site throughout the month of September for National Preparedness month.