compiled by World Journal staff
HUERFANO — Failing to evacuate flooded areas, entering flood waters, or remaining after a flood has passed can result in injury or death, and in the time of the flood and its immediate aftermath, citizens may be on their own for some time without government assistance.
Here are safety tips and evacuation preplanning reminders. The World Journal will be expanding this information in the weeks to come.
• Develops slowly or quickly – Flash floods can come with no warning.
• If you are under a flood warning, follow evacuation plans in your community and find safe shelter. Never walk, swim, or drive through flood waters. Turn Around, Don’t Drown (51% of flood deaths involve people in vehicles). Just six inches of moving water can knock you down, and a foot of moving water can sweep your car away.
• Stay off of bridges.
• Evacuate if told to do so.
• Know types of flood risk in your area. •Sign up for your community’s warning system.
• If flash flooding is a risk in your location, then monitor potential signs, such as heavy rain.
• Learn and practice evacuation routes, shelter plans, and flash flood response.
• Gather supplies in case you have to leave immediately, or if services are cut off. Keep in mind each person’s needs, including medication. Don’t forget the needs of pets. Get extra batteries and chargers for phones and other devices. Keep important documents in a waterproof container. Create password-protected digital copies. Move valuables to higher levels. Clean out drains and gutters. Install check valves. Consider a sump pump with a battery. • Purchase or renew a flood insurance policy. It typically takes up to 30 days for a policy to go into effect. Homeowner’s policies do not cover flooding. Get flood coverage under the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).
• Depending on where you are, and the impact and the warning time of flooding, go to the safe location that you previously identified. If told to evacuate, do so immediately. Listen to EAS, NOAA Weather Radio, or local alerting systems for current emergency information and instructions. If your vehicle is trapped in rapidly moving water, then stay inside. If water is rising inside the vehicle, then seek refuge on the roof. If trapped in a building, then go to its highest level. Do not climb into a closed attic. You may become trapped by rising floodwater. Go onto the roof only if necessary. Once there, signal for help.
BE SAFE AFTER:
• Listen to authorities for information and instructions. Return home only when authorities say it is safe. Avoid driving, except in emergencies. Snakes and other animals may be in your house. Wear heavy gloves and boots during clean up. Be aware of the risk of electrocution. Do not touch electrical equipment if it is wet or if you are standing in water. If it is safe to do so, turn off the electricity to prevent electric shock. Avoid wading in floodwater, which can contain dangerous debris and be contaminated. Underground or downed power lines can also electrically charge the water. Use a generator or other gasoline-powered machinery only outdoors and away from windows. Check websites such as the Red Cross, FEMA, state and local government disaster preparedness offices and others under the search topic “flooding preparedness” for additional information. Keep disaster tips handy and go over them with everyone in your household.