Build Your Ark Now: Prepare for a Flood


Estelle Margarones

9/2/2015

September is National Preparedness Month. Each week, your MACUCC Disaster Resource Team will share blogs corresponding with the Federal Emergency Management Association’s weekly themes for the month.  Much of the following is excerpted from a DRT Blog March, 2015. You can access the entire post here.
 
Floods can arise from a number of weather conditions. Hurricanes, higher than normal amounts of rain, and melting snow can all cause flooding.  When roads are flooded, remember this simple phrase, “Turn Around Don't Drown®”! It could save your life.
 
Flood waters are dangerous! Just six inches of rushing water can knock an adult down and just a foot to 24 inches of water can float cars, trucks and SUVs. Don't walk across flooded roads or drive through flooded areas. Be aware that if you try to go through deep water and water gets up into the engine, it’s very likely that you will have to replace the entire engine!

If you come upon a flooded area, retreat rather than proceeding forward. The water may appear to be passable, but you don't know how deep it is, nor do you know about the integrity of the roadway. Potholes are tough, but roads can completely crumble under flood waters. You have no way of knowing what's down there. Be especially alert at night when conditions limit visibility. Follow evacuation routes and do not drive around barriers.

Flash flooding can topple trees, destroy bridges and contain rocks, branches and other debris.

Know the lingo: “flood watch” means that flooding is likely; a “flood warning” means that it is either already flooding or it will be flooding soon.
 
If you get a flood warning, let someone know where you are in case you lose power.

Have an emergency plan. Consider a communication plan with a designated contact person and meeting place and prepare an emergency kit (“go bag”) with 3 days of food, water, medicine, flashlights, battery operated radio and first aid kit.
 
Plan for your pets. Some shelters don't take pets, but make sure you've got a pet plan and pet food and supplies with you.


Charge your electronics and bring your chargers. Bring cash with you, in small bills. Fill your car gas tank. Those pumps are electrical and may not work in the event of an emergency. If you have sandbags, fill them ahead of time as it takes more time than you think.
 
Coastal towns face an increased risk of flooding. Make the effort to learn the risk in your area. Moving water can be very dangerous.
 
Before you’re confronted with a flood, consider installing a water alarm in your basement
 
If you are told to evacuate, do so. If you have time, unplug your electronics. If you're experiencing flooding get to higher ground immediately. If you're in the house and flood waters penetrate, move to the upper floors.

Remember that water and electricity don't mix. Avoid rooms with submerged electrical cords or outlets. If you hear cracking or popping or see sparks, stay away.
 
After the event, it's natural to want to assess the damage, but wait for the 'all clear'. Water can cause structural damage. Additionally, there can be electrical, gas, or sewage issues. If you hear hissing or smell gas, leave the area and call the fire department.

For clean-up, you'll want to wear rubber gloves and boots. Remove wet contents immediately to avoid mold and mildew. Thoroughly clean and disinfect compromised items.

Think about flood insurance now. Most standard policies don't cover it and, once obtained, there is a waiting period before it becomes active (usually 30 days). No matter what kind of insurance you have, make sure your policy is somewhere safe outside of the flood zone in a safe deposit box or in waterproof storage.

For expert advice on preparing for and dealing with floods, visit www.FloodSafety.noaa.gov.
Get additional tips and stay afloat by participating in America’s PrepareAthon grassroots campaign. Register at www.ready.gov/prepare.
For disaster planning resources and templates, please visit www.MACUCC.org/DisasterResponse.

Photo from UCC.org. 
 
 
 
 
 



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