Safety is the most important consideration. Since floodwaters can rise very rapidly, you should be prepared to evacuate before the water level reaches your property. Keep the following in mind:
- Have a Battery-Powered radio tuned to a local station and follow emergency instructions.
- Be prepared to evacuate if necessary.
- Stay away from all flood control facilities.
- Be extremely cautious when driving. Do not attempt to drive through moving water. Follow all emergency traffic instructions.
If you are caught in your home by rising waters, move to the second floor and, if necessary, to the roof. Take warm clothing, a flashlight, and a portable radio with you. Then wait for help . . . don’t try to swim to safety. Rescue teams will be looking for you.
If, and only if, time permits there are several precautionary steps that can be taken:
- Turn off all utilities at the main power switch and close the main gas valve if evacuation is likely. Do not touch any electrical equipment unless it is in a dry area and you are standing on a piece of dry wood while wearing rubber gloves and rubber-soled boots or shoes.
- Move valuables such as documents, furs, jewelry, clothing, and other contents to upper floors or higher elevations.
- Fill bathtubs, sinks, and jugs with clean water in case regular supplies are contaminated. You can sanitize these items by first rinsing with bleach.
- Board up windows or protect them with storm shutters.
- Bring outdoor possessions inside the house or tie them down securely. This includes lawn furniture, garbage cans, tools, signs, and other moveable objects that might be swept away or hurled about.
- Remember: Floods are deceptive. Avoid flooded roads, and don’t attempt to walk through floodwaters.
If it is safe to evacuate by car, you should consider the following:
- Stock the car with non-perishable foods like canned goods, a plastic container of water, blankets, first aid kit, flashlights, dry clothing, and any special medication needed by your family.
- Keep the gas tank at least half full since gasoline pumps will not be working if the electricity is cut off.
- DO NOT drive where the water is over the roads. Parts of the road may already be washed out.
- If your car stalls in a flooded area abandon it as soon as possible. Floodwaters can rise rapidly and sweep a car and its occupants away. Many deaths have resulted from attempts to move stalled vehicles.