By Carol Grinage, volunteer contributor, American Red Cross
How do you survive a flood? What do you do when the flood warnings that never materialize turn into an actual flood?
If a flood hits your area, stay informed. Listen to your local radio or television to hear what is happening in your area. If you don’t have local radio or television, check the internet or social media sites for the latest information. These sources can tell you how serious the flood is and where to go if you need to seek safety. They can also tell you who to contact if you need help.
Next, get to higher ground. Do not wait. Higher ground will provide you with the protection you need from flood waters. If you wait, you may not be able to reach higher ground because you will be surround by flood waters.
If authorities tell you to evacuate, please obey the evacuation orders. If you are being told to evacuate, you are being told to evacuate for a reason. You may not be able to see the flood where you are located, but the authorities see a wider picture and know what flooding has occurred in surrounding areas and what flooding is heading your way. When you evacuate your home, remember to lock the doors and, if you have time, unplug utilities and appliances.
Remember that water and electricity do not mix, so practice electrical safety. Stay out of flood waters that has electricity in it. How do you know if water has electricity in it? If you see sparks or hear buzzing, cracking or snapping, these are signs that the water has been electrified and that you must not go near it. Also, don’t enter basements or any rooms in which the water covers the electrical outlets because the water could be electrified.
If you have been ordered to evacuate, avoid flood waters. Do not walk through flood waters because even 6 inches of water can knock you off your feet. If you are trapped in moving water, move to the highest point and wait for help.
Also, do not drive through flooded waters or around barricades. Quite often, people get into dangerous situations because it is impossible to see sharp objects, washed out road surfaces, electrical wires or chemicals that may be in the water. In addition, cars can be swept away in seconds. Twelve inches of water can float a car or SUV, and 18 inches of water can carry away large vehicles. So, although flood waters may not appear deep, they can hold a host of dangers.
Although floods don’t appear serious on the surface, they can be quite deadly. Take the time to prepare, and remember what to do if a flood hits where you live.
Download our free Flood App to get up to the minute information on what to do in the event of a flood in your area.