Find out if
you live in a flood-prone area from your local emergency management
office or Red
Ask whether your property is above or below the flood stage water
level and learn about the history of flooding for your region.
warning signs and your community alert signals.
on preparing for floods and flash floods.
If you live
in a frequently flooded area, stockpile emergency building materials.
These include plywood, plastic sheeting, lumber nails, hammer and
saw, pry bar,shovels, and sandbags.
Have check valves
installed in building sewer traps to prevent flood waters from backing
up in sewer drains.
As a last resort, use large corks or stoppers to plug showers, tubs,
Plan and practice
an evacuation route.
Contact the local emergency management office or local American
Red Cross chapter for a copy of the community flood evacuation plan.
This plan should
include information on the safest routes to shelters. Individuals
living in flash flood areas should have several alternative routes.
supplies on hand.
Develop an emergency
and extra batteries
battery-operated radio and extra batteries
- First aid
kit and manual
food and water
- Cash and
- Sturdy shoes
In case family members are separated from one another during floods
or flashfloods (a real possibility during the day when adults are
at work and children are at school), have a plan for getting back together.
Ask an out-of-state
relative or friend to serve as the "family contact." After a disaster,
it's often easier to call long distance. Make sure everyone in the
family knows the name, address, and phone number of the contact
Make sure that
all family members know how to respond after a flood or flash flood.
Teach all family members how and when to turn off gas, electricity,
how and when to call 9-1-1, police, fire department, and which radio
station to tune to for emergency information.
the National Flood Insurance Program.
Ask your insurance agent about flood insurance. Homeowners policies
do not cover flood damage.
DURING A FLOOD
- Listen to
a batter-operated radio for the latest storm information.
- Fill bathtubs,
sinks, and jugs with clean water in case water becomes contaminated.
- Bring outdoor
belongings, such as patio furniture, indoors.
- Move valuable
household possessions to the upper floors or to safe ground if time
- If you are
instructed to do so by local authorities, turn off all utilities
at the main switch and close the main gas valve.
- Be prepared
- Turn on battery-operated
radio or television to get the latest emergency information.
- Get your
preassembled emergency supplies.
- If told to
leave, do so immediately.
If In A Car:
- Climb to
high ground and stay there.
- Avoid walking
through any flood waters. If it is moving swiftly, even water 6inches
deep can sweep you off your feet.
- If you come
to a flooded area, turn around and go another way.
- If your car
stalls, abandon it immediately and climb to higher ground. Many
deaths have resulted from attempts to move stalled vehicles.
- If advised
to evacuate, do so immediately.
is much simpler and safer before flood waters become too deep
for ordinary vehicles to drive through.
- Listen to
a batter-operated radio for evacuation instructions.
- Follow recommended
evacuation routes--shortcuts may be blocked.
- Leave early
enough to avoid being marooned by flooded roads.
do not end when the water begins to recede. Listen to a radio or television
and don't return home until authorities indicate it is safe to do
help your neighbors who may require special assistance--infants,elderly
people, and people with disabilities.
for cracks or other damage.
Stay out of
buildings if flood waters remain around the building.
buildings, use extreme caution.
Look for fire hazards.
- Wear sturdy
shoes and use battery-powered lanterns or flashlights when examining
- Examine walls,
floors, doors, and windows to make sure that the building is not in
danger of collapsing.
- Watch out
for animals, especially poisonous snakes, that may have come into
your home with the flood waters. Use a stick to poke through debris.
- Watch for
loose plaster and ceilings that could fall.
- Take pictures
of the damage--both to the house and its contents for insurance claims.
Throw away food--including
canned goods--that has come in contact with flood waters.
- Broken or
leaking gas lines
- Flooded electrical
furnaces or electrical appliances
or explosive materials coming from upstream
Pump out flooded
basements gradually (about one-third of the water per day)
to avoid structural damage.
septic tanks, cesspools, pits, and leaching systems as soon as possible.
Damaged sewage systems are health hazards.
UTILITIES IN A DAMAGED HOME
Check for gas
leaks--If you smell gas or hear blowing or hissing noise, open a
window and quickly leave the building. Turn off the gas at the outside
main valve if you can and call the gas company from a neighbor's
home. If you turn off the gas for any reason, it must be turned back
on by a professional.
Look for electrical
system damage--If you see sparks or broken or frayed wires, or if
you smell hot insulation, turn off the electricity at the main fuse
box or circuit breaker. If you have to step in water to get to the
fuse box or circuit breaker, call an electrician for advice.
Check for sewage
and water lines damage--If you suspect sewage lines are damaged
avoid using the toilets and call a plumber. If water pipes are damaged,
contact the water company and avoid the water from the tap.