Friday, March 22, 2013

Flood safety awareness: What to do to get ready

Photo by Liz Roll/FEMA
True or false? Floods only happen during hurricanes and in places close to sea level.
Answer: False. The truth is that floods can occur in unexpected places. According to the National Weather Service, flooding can occur in any state at any time of the year. That means you should be prepared for a flood emergency even if you don’t live close to the water.
Floods are serious business: They cause an average of $5 billion in damage annually and about 100 deaths. The majority of those deaths occur while driving, particularly during flash floods. Flash floods can be the most dangerous because they happen with little warning.
This is National Flood Safety Awareness Week, sponsored by the National Weather Service. The week is a great opportunity to make sure you and your family are ready for a flood emergency.
Here are some things you should keep in mind:
  • Do not try to cross flooded areas — the water may be deeper and moving more swiftly than it appears. If your car gets stuck in a flood, do not open the car door. Try to climb out through car windows, if possible.
  • Keep up to date on tetanus shots in case you are hurt during a flood. Adults need a tetanus booster shot every 10 years.
  • Store nonperishable food in waterproof containers in a high place. Stock one gallon of bottled water per day per person in your household, and plan on at least three days of supplies.
  • During post-flood cleanup, wear gloves and regularly wash hands in clean water — boiled, if from the tap — and soap.
Check out our Get Ready flood fact sheet so you’ll know what to do before, during and after a flood happens. Come high water, you’ll be ready!

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