Flooding is the most common natural disaster in the United States. In 2022, the nation saw 19 major flood events and 103 people lost their lives. In 2021, flash flooding and river floods killed 146 people. So far in 2023, at least 32 people have died. If you live in a flood-susceptible area, here are some flood safety tips you need to know.
If bad weather is on the way, be prepared to take action. Pay close attention to weather alerts on the radio, television, or your cell phone. A flood watch means a flood is possible in your area. A flood warning means flooding is occurring or will be soon. Be ready to evacuate quickly.
Have an emergency flood survival kit ready to go. It should have at least three days of supplies for each family member. Items should include non-perishable food, a flashlight, a battery-powered radio, portable phone chargers, extra batteries, a first-aid kit, a 7-day supply of medications, a multi-purpose tool, personal hygiene and sanitation items, and copies of important documents.
Make sure your drainage systems are clear of debris. Clogging can lead to flooding and property damage.
Flash Flooding Guidelines
If there’s any chance of flash flooding, move to higher ground immediately. The sheer force and volume of flowing water that can accumulate is extremely dangerous. Flash floods can occur quickly when water overflows from streams and other areas prone to sudden flooding.
If You Are Stuck in a Flood
If a flood warning is issued for your area, prepare to head for higher ground. Move essential items to the upper floor of your home. If told to do so, turn off utilities at the main switches or valves. Unplug electrical appliances. Never touch electrical equipment if you are wet or standing in water.
Six inches of water is all it takes to sweep you off your feet. Never walk or drive through moving water. People underestimate its force. Always remember to “turn around, don’t drown”.
Driving in Floods
Half of all flood-related drownings occur when a vehicle is driven into flood waters. Turn around and go another way if you come upon high water. If floodwaters rise around your car, get out and move to higher ground if you can do so safely. Six inches of water can stall your vehicle or cause you to lose control. One foot of water will float many vehicles while two feet of rushing water can carry you away.
Trapped in a Vehicle
If you are inside a sinking vehicle, take these steps to help you get out safely.
Don’t panic. Take a deep breath and focus on safely escaping your vehicle.
Unbuckle your seatbelt. Open your window immediately and swim out. Don’t open the door.
Don’t use the car as a floatie. Swim with the flow of the water until you reach higher ground.
Break the window. If it won’t open, use a sharp object, a rock, or your heel to smash it.
Following a Flood
Return home after a flooding event only when authorities say it’s safe. Listen to news reports to learn if the local water supply is ok to drink. Be careful on roads where floodwaters have receded. They may be too weak to hold a vehicle. Stay away from downed power lines. Use extreme caution when entering buildings which could be damaged. Clean and disinfect everything that got wet.
Let Us Clean Up the Mess
If your home has suffered water, flood, or fire damage, or you need a biohazard cleanup, Flood Department is here to help. We provide repair and clean-up services for homeowners and businesses in Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, and Washington, D.C. We are dedicated to helping reverse the damage done by water, mold, sewage, smoke, biohazards, and more. Contact us at 301-829-2600 or visit us online for more information.