On average, more people are killed by flooding than by any other single severe weather hazard, including tornadoes, lightning, and hurricanes. Most of these deaths occur at night, when it is more difficult to recognize flood dangers, and when people are trapped in vehicles. Do you and your family know what to do in case of a flood?
- DO NOT drive onto a flooded roadway.
- DO NOT drive through flowing water.
- If you approach a roadway that is flooded, TURN AROUND – DON’T DROWN.
- Drive with extreme caution if roads are even just wet or it is raining. You can lose control of your vehicle if hydroplaning occurs, which is when a layer of water builds up between your tires and the road, causing there to be no direct contact between your vehicle and the road.
If a Flash Flood Warning is issued for your area:
- If advised to evacuate, do so immediately! Act quickly to save yourself, you may not have much time.
- Get out of areas that are subject to flooding and move to a safe area before access is cut off by flood waters. Low spots such as dips, canyons, and washes are not the places you want to be during flooding!
- DO NOT camp or park your vehicle along streams and washes, particularly during threatening conditions.
- DO NOT drive if not necessary. If driving is necessary, do not attempt to drive over a flooded road, as the depth of the water is not always obvious, and the roadway may no longer be intact under the water. Never drive around a barricade, they are placed there for your protection! If your vehicle stalls, leave it immediately and move to higher ground before water sweeps you and your vehicle away.
- DO NOT try to walk, swim, or play in flood water. You may not be able to determine if there are holes or submerged debris, or how quickly the water is flowing, and you may be swept away. If water is moving swiftly, as little as 6 inches of water can knock you off of your feet! There is also a danger of hazardous materials polluting the water. Also remember that water is an electrical conductor, if there are power lines down, there is a possibility of electrocution.
- Always continue to monitor the situation through the National Weather Service website, your NOAA Weather Radio All-Hazards, or favorite local television or radio stations.
Why is “Turn Around – Don’t Drown” so important?
Each year, more deaths occur due to flooding than from any other severe weather related hazard. The main reason is people underestimate the force and power of water. More than half of all flood related deaths result from vehicles being swept downstream. Of these, many are preventable.
Safety tips after a flood
When flood waters recede, the damage left behind can be devastating and present many dangers. Images of flood destruction depict destroyed homes and buildings, damaged possessions, and decimated roadways. However, what you can’t see can be just as dangerous. Floodwaters often become contaminated with sewage or chemicals. Gas leaks and live power lines can be deadly, but are not obvious at first glance.
Stay tuned to your local news for updated information on road conditions. Ensure water is safe to drink, cook or clean with after a flood. Oftentimes, a boil water order is put in place following a flood. Check with utility companies to find out when electricity or gas services may be restored. Carbon monoxide poisoning is one of the leading causes of deaths after storms when areas are dealing with power outages. Never use a portable generator inside your home or garage.
Avoid Flood Waters
Standing water hides many dangers including toxins and chemicals. There may be debris under the water and the road surface may have been compromised. If it is likely your home will flood, don’t wait to be ordered to leave; evacuate yourself! Make alternative plans for a place to stay. If you have pets, take them with you or make arrangements to board them at a facility well away from the flooding danger.
Avoid Disaster Areas
Do not visit disaster areas! Your presence may hamper rescue and other emergency operations.
Heed Road Closed and Cautionary Signs
Road closure and other cautionary signs are put in place for your safety. Pay attention to them!
Wait for the “All Clear”
Do not enter a flood damaged home or building until you’re given the all clear by authorities. If you choose to enter a flood damaged building, be extremely careful. Water can compromise the structural integrity and its foundation. Make sure the electrical system has been turned off, otherwise contact the power company or a qualified electrician. Contact your insurance agent as soon as possible to discuss the damage done to your property. If you have a home generator, be sure to follow proper safety procedures for use.
Contact Your Family and Loved Ones
Let your family and close friends know that you’re okay so they can help spread the word.
For more information, visit http://www.floodsafety.noaa.gov/.
(Information provided by the National Weather Service/NOAA.)