Part 2 in a 3-Part Series
Weather-related disasters across the world lead to devastating loss of life and cost billions of dollars each year. Our last post about severe weather disasters focused on extreme heat. The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) breaks weather-related disasters into eight major categories. We’re working on a flood of upcoming blog posts! This week, we will tackle one such designation, floods. Check back, as the final post in this series will focus hurricanes, landslides and mudslides.
A flood is a temporary overflow of water onto land that is normally dry. According to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), floods are the most common natural disaster in the United States. Recent floods in Charleston, and Texas are taxing resources, destroying property, injuring hundreds and resulting in troubling associated issues such as mosquito-borne disease and infrastructure damage.
To Prepare for a Flood
- Familiarize yourself with the types of flood risks in your area. Visit FEMA’s Flood Map Service Center for information.
- Sign up for weather warnings. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Emergency Alert System (EAS) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio also provide emergency alerts.
- Purchase or renew a flood insurance policy. It typically takes up to 30 days for a policy to go into effect and can protect the life you’ve built. Homeowner’s policies do not cover flooding. Get flood coverage under the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). They don’t offer flood insurance specifically for doghouses; I checked.
- If flash flooding is a risk in your location, be aware of potential signs, such as heavy rain.
- Learn and practice evacuation routes, shelter plans, and flash flood response. Determine where you should go if you need to find higher ground.
- Gather supplies in advance, in case services are cut off. Keep in mind each person’s specific needs, including medication. Don’t forget about pets. Stow extra batteries and charging devices for phones and other critical equipment. Click here to read about what to include in an emergency supplies kit.
- Keep important documents in a waterproof container. Create password-protected digital copies.
- Declutter drains and gutters. Install check valves. Consider purchasing a sump pump with battery backup.
- When it’s raining, head inside.
To Survive a Flood
Since just six inches of moving water is sufficient to knock you down and one foot of moving water can sweep away a vehicle, it’s crucial to quickly respond after a flood warning is issued:
- Determine how to protect yourself, based on the type of flooding.
- Listen to EAS, NOAA Weather Radio, or local alerting systems for current emergency information and instructions.
- If you’re inside, evacuate only if instructed to do so.
- If trapped in a building, move to higher ground or a higher floor. Do not climb into a closed attic. You may become trapped by rising floodwater. Head to the roof only if necessary. Once there, signal for help.
- Do not walk, swim, or drive through flood waters. Turn Around. Don’t Drown! I love it when NOAA comes up with rhymes like these.
- Stay off bridges over fast-moving water.
- Depending on where you are, and the impact and the warning time of flooding, go to the higher ground area you previously identified.
- If you are in your car when a flood hits and your vehicle is trapped in rapidly moving water, stay inside. If water is rising inside the vehicle, seek refuge on the roof. Sounds a little like surfing.
Be Safe after a Flood
- Listen to authorities for information and instructions. Return home only when authorities say doing so is safe.
- Avoid driving, except in emergencies.
- Since snakes and other animals could 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 could be contaminated and might contain dangerous debris. 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 back to read the final entry in our 3-part series about severe weather-related disasters.
About the Allied Universal Fire Life Safety Services System
In all weather-related disasters, take steps to make sure you are safe. Our interactive, building-specific e-learning program helps commercial, residential, educational, institutional, government, retail and industrial buildings with compliance to fire life safety codes and instantly issues a certificate to building occupants who complete a course! It’s a convenient and affordable solution to the training needs of your facility. Click here for more information or to subscribe.