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Saturday, February 26, 2011

Flood Safety Tips

Here are some safety tips to prepare for rising water—and what to do once a flood has begun.
Safety Tips
Before a Flood
  • Avoid building in a floodplain.
  • Construct barriers (levees, beams, floodwalls) to stop floodwater from entering your home.
  • Seal walls in basements with waterproofing compounds to avoid seepage.
  • If a flood is likely in your area, listen to the radio or television for information.
  • Know the difference between a flood watch and a flood warning. A watch means flooding is possible. A warning meansflooding is occurring or will occur soon.
When a Flood is Imminent
  • Be prepared! Pack a bag with important items in case you need to evacuate. Don't forget to include needed medications.
  • If advised to evacuate your home, do so immediately.
  • If there is any possibility of a flash flood, move immediately to higher ground.
  • If possible, bring in outdoor furniture and move essential items to an upper floor.
  • Turn off utilities at the main switches or valves if instructed to do so. Disconnect electrical appliances.
During a Flood
  • Do not walk through moving water. As little as 6 inches (15 centimeters) of moving water can make you fall.
  • If you have to walk in water, wherever possible, walk where the water is not moving. Use a stick to check the firmness of the ground in front of you.
  • Do not drive into flooded areas. If floodwaters rise around your car, abandon the car and move to higher ground if you can do so safely.
  • Do not touch electrical equipment if you are wet or standing in water.
After a Flood
  • Listen for news reports to learn whether the community's water supply is safe to drink.
  • Avoid floodwaters; water may be contaminated by oil, gasoline, or raw sewage. Water may also be electrically charged from underground or downed power lines.
  • Avoid moving water.
  • Be aware of areas where floodwaters have receded. Roads may have weakened and could collapse under the weight of a car.
  • Stay away from downed power lines, and report them to the power company.
  • Return home only when authorities indicate it is safe.
  • Stay out of any building if it is surrounded by floodwaters.
  • Service damaged septic tanks, cesspools, pits, and leaching systems as soon as possible. Damaged sewage systems are serious health hazards.
  • Clean and disinfect everything that got wet. Mud left from floodwater can contain sewage and chemicals.
Source: U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency
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