Flood Emergency Mitigation Actions
Actions Before: Determine Risk, Increase Knowledge, Safeguard, Plan
General All-Hazard Actions:
- Determine the disaster risks in your locale and the hazards that accompany them.
- Increase your knowledge about the emergency warning signals and alert notifications used in your community.
- Instruct family members how to shut off water, gas and electricity to your house.
- Make the necessary property preparations to reduce the damage from the hazard.
- Acquire a backup generator in case of a prolonged power failure.
- Check into insurance (property, health, life, and hazard type).
- Make the necessary financial arrangements in case of a sudden evacuation and power outage that shuts down local ATMs and banks.
- Organize important documents and records and store them in a portable lock box or safe-deposit box.
- Perform home inventory video taping and store tape in a portable lock box or safe-deposit box.
- Develop an Emergency Communication Plan with evacuation plan and ask an out-of-state person to serve as the "family contact".
- Assemble a shelter-in-place Emergency Supplies Kit.
- Assemble a mobile Emergency Supplies Kit that can serve as a “grab and go” bag?
- Get a family member trained in first aid and CPR.
- Make the necessary preparations and arrangements for pets, seniors, and the disabled.
- Familiarize yourself with the emergency plans of your family member's employment building, school, day care center, or nursing home.
Hazard Specific Actions:
- Stockpile emergency building materials.
- Buy and install a sump pump with backup power. Have an electrician raise electric components such as sockets, switches and circuit breakers at least 12 inches above your home’s projected flood elevation.
- Install check valves in sewer traps to prevent flood waters from backing up in sewer drains.
- Plan and practice an evacuation route.
Actions During: Safety Basics, Evacuation, Shelter in Place
During a flood watch:
- If indoors:
- Turn on battery operated radio to get latest emergency information.
- Get pre-assembled emergency supplies.
- Fill sinks, bathtubs and jugs with clean water in case water becomes contaminated.
- If you come in contact with floodwater, wash your hands with soap and disinfected water. Floodwater may carry raw sewage, chemical waste and other infectious substances.
- If told to evacuate, do so immediately.
- If outdoors:
- Climb to high ground and stay there.
- Avoid walking through any floodwaters.
- If in a car, turn around and go another way; if your car stalls, abandon it immediately and climb to higher ground.
- Avoid downed power lines because electric currents pass easily through water.
- Look out for animals, especially snakes. Animals lose their homes in floods too.
During an evacuation:
- If advised to evacuate, do so immediately to avoid flooded roads, being sure to follow recommended evacuation routes and listen to radio for evacuation instructions.
Driving Flood Facts - The following are important points to remember when driving in flood conditions:
- Six inches of water will reach the bottom of most passenger cars causing loss of control and possible stalling.
- A foot of water will float many vehicles.
- Two feet of rushing water can carry away most vehicles including sport utility vehicles (SUV’s) and pick-ups.
Actions After: Get Disaster Relief, Clean-up, Salvage
- Avoid floodwaters. Do not let children play in the water.
- Be aware of areas where water has receded. Roadways may have weakened and could collapse.
- Avoid downed power lines and muddy water where power lines may have fallen.
- Don't return home until authorities express expressly it is safe to do so.
- Listen for news reports to learn whether the community’s water supply is safe to drink.
- Avoid floodwaters; water may be contaminated by oil, gasoline, or raw sewage. Water may also be electrically charged from underground or downed power lines.
- Help neighbors whom may need assistance.
- Use extreme caution when entering buildings.
- Inspect foundations for cracks or other damage and 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 flood waters.
- Watch for loose plaster and ceilings that could fall.
- Take pictures of damage for insurance claims.
- Look for fire hazards.
- Throw away all food (including canned) that has come in contact with flood waters.
- Pump out flooded basements gradually (~ 1/3 amount of water per day) to avoid structural damage.
- Service damaged septic tanks, cesspools, pits, and leaching systems ASAP - damaged sewage systems are health hazards.
- FloodSmart.gov, American Red Cross, CDC – Emergency Preparedness and Response, FEMA – Are You Ready? Guide, Ready.gov, Be a Force of Nature with NOAA’s Weather Ready Nation, National Weather Service Weather Safety
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