Your first step in protecting yourself and your family from the dangers of flooding is to:
Prepare a Family Disaster Plan
Visit: http://www.ready.gov/make-a-plan for information on how to make a Family Communication Plan, including a helpful, downloadable plan template for yoru family.
Check to see if you have insurance that covers flooding before you would need to use it. If you aren't, find out how to get flood insurance.
Have a Disaster Supplies Kit prepared. Visit: http://www.ready.gov/build-a-kit for information about assembling your own disaster supplies kit at home.
Keep insurance policies, documents, and other valuables in a safe deposit box.
Identify where you could go if told to evacuate. Choose several places such as a friend’s home. If you are told to leave, do so immediately! Take your evacuation kit and your emergency contact list with you!
KNOW THE FLOOD LINGO
FLASH FLOOD WATCH
... means flash flooding is possible in your area.
FLASH FLOOD WARNING
... means a flash flood is occurring or will occur very soon.
Remeber: Do you really know how deep and fast the water is? People often underestimate the force of water. Most vehicles, including SUV’s and trucks, lose contact with the road in 6 inches of water and can be swept away in 18-24 inches of water. More than half of all flood-related deaths are vehicle related. Of these, most are preventable.
Do not attempt to cross flowing arroyos or water courses.
Road beds may be washed out or undercut by flood waters.
Flooded roadways may conceal debris or sinkholes.
Do not drive around barricades.
If your car stalls in rapidly rising waters, abandon it immediately and climb to higher ground. Be especially cautious at night when it is harder to recognize flood dangers. Although it may not be raining at your home, flooding can be caused by rain falling several miles upstream, and then moving downstream rapidly. The construction of buildings, highways, and parking lots increases runoff by reducing the amount of rain absorbed by the ground. Be aware of any dams upstream of your location. During periods of heavy rainfall, storm drains may become overwhelmed and flood roads and buildings.
AFTER A FLOOD
Listen to the radio, television or NOAA weather radio. Wait until an area is declared safe before entering. If you come upon a barricade or flooded road: Turn Around Don’t Drown! Standing water may be electrically charged from power lines. Never use candles or other open flames indoors. Check gas, water and electrical lines and appliances for damage. Do not drink or prepare food with tap water until officials say it is safe.