|Flood Safety Tips|
UPDATED March 9, 2012
By WeatherBug Meteorologists and the National Weather Service
|Flash flooding is one of the biggest killers in the U.S. and it happens everywhere, in all 50 states and practically any community. What can you do to stay safe and minimize damages?|
Before taking action, you must understand the severity of the threat. Comprehending the National Weather Service`s flood alerts could be the best way to stay safe during a flood.
A FLOOD/FLASH FLOOD WATCH means it is possible that heavy rains will cause flooding/flash flooding in your area.
- Be alert and be prepared for a flash flood emergency.
- Look for signs of flash flooding and be ready to evacuate, if necessary.
- Look for signs of heavy rain (thunder and lightning), especially upstream.
- Watch for rising water levels.
- Know where high ground is and be prepared to get there quickly if you see or hear rapidly rising water.
- Do not camp or park your vehicle along streams and washes.
A FLOOD/FLASH FLOOD WARNING means that flooding/flash flooding has been reported or is imminent. You must act quickly. You may have only SECONDS to save yourself and your family!
- Go to higher ground immediately! Get out of areas subject to flooding such as dips, low spots, canyons, washes, and areas along streams and creeks. In urban areas, stay away from clogged storm drains and underpasses. If advised to evacuate, do so immediately!
Here are a few additional tips and ideas to help minimize the flooding damages before, during and after the flooding event.
Before the flood:
- Keep fuel on hand. If electric power is cut off, you may need gas to keep a generator running and therefore essential electrical appliances running.
- Store drinking water in clean bathtubs and in various containers. Water service may be interrupted.
- Keep a stock of food that requires little cooking and no refrigeration; electric power may be interrupted.
- As always, keep first aid supplies on hand.
- Keep a battery-powered portable radio, emergency cooking equipment, and flashlights in working order. Install check valves in building sewer traps to prevent flood water from backing up into the drains of your home.
During the flood:
- Avoid areas subject to sudden flooding.
- If you come upon a flowing stream where water is above your ankles, Stop! Turn around and go another way.
- Do not attempt to drive over a flooded road. The depth of water is not always obvious. The road bed may be washed out under the water, and you could be stranded or trapped.
- Children should NEVER play around high water, storm drains, viaducts, or arroyos.
After the flood:
- If fresh food has come in contact with flood waters, throw it out.
- Boil drinking water before using. Wells should be pumped out and the water tested for purity before drinking. If in doubt, call your local public health authority.
- Seek necessary medical care at the nearest hospital. Food, clothing, shelter, and first aid are available from the Red Cross.
- Do not visit the flooded areas. Your presence might hamper possible emergency operations.
- Electrical equipment should be checked and dried before being returned to service.
- Use flashlights, not lanterns, torches or matches, to examine buildings. Flammables may be inside.
- Report broken utility lines to appropriate authorities.
- Take additional care when driving at night, as flooded areas become extremely difficult to spot.
National Weather Service Flooding Brochure
US Special Flood Hazard Areas
National Weather Service Flood Summary
US Geological Survey`s Real-time Streamflow Data
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