How to Be Ready for Floods

flood preparationA major flood occurrence always has the chance of becoming a major catastrophe. One should not be taken lightly. Floods always bring with them possible dangers that, if you are not careful, can make you its potential victim.

There are a number of potential dangers that every flood can cause. It always pays to be careful. Even the smallest of floods can do some bit of harm or damage. Just six inches of fast moving water can be enough to sweep a person off his or her feet.

As little as a foot of fast-moving water can be strong enough to move a car off the road. Flash floods can sometimes last in less than an hour but can do some considerable damage to property and lives in an instant. Even regular river flooding can cause considerable damage and create hazards that can last for days after the initial flooding occurs.

In order for people to cope up with living in flood prone areas, community officials have developed ways to issue flood alerts and warnings to residents so that they may be able to prepare themselves and take all the necessary precautions. Here are examples of public flood warnings and what they mean:

Flood Watch- when this alert is issued, it can mean that flooding is possible any time now and the situation could worsen. It would be wise to keep watch of the water levels in nearby rivers to have a better idea of what to expect. Always stay tuned to local radio or TV broadcasts for further advisories. It would also be a good idea to alert your neighbors to make sure that they also know of what is happening.

Flood Warning- when this warning is issued, action should be taken to ensure one’s safety. By this time, the flood is now imminent and may already be affecting other areas. Now is the time to put any flood plan into action. A Flood Warning is usually issued when flooding of a normally dry area near a stream or other watercourse is being expected which can result in a severe ponding of water.

Pets, vehicles, food and valuables should be moved to safety immediately. It might already be a good idea to put sandbags or flood boards in place to help reduce some of the damage that the flood can cause. Prepare to evacuate your home at any time, remembering to turn off the gas and electricity when you do.

River Flood Warning– this warning is issued when a river is expected to overflow at any time or has exceeded the flood stage.

Flash Flood Watch– this alert is issued during situations wherein life and property are in imminent danger of an incoming flash flood. Flash Flood watch covers flash flooding from widespread urban and small stream as well as headwater flood events.

Flash Flood Warning– this warning is issued in flood prone areas usually after a few hours of intense heavy rainfall, during a dam or levee failure, or in situations where water released from an ice jam is observed rapidly flooding nearby areas.

Urban and Small Streams Flood Warning/Advisory– this is issued when there is an observed flooding of small streams, streets, and low-lying areas, such as railroad underpasses and urban storm drains.

With receiving a public warning that any form of flooding is imminent in your area, you would need to prepare yourself and gather up supplies that you might need for the eventual rush of flood waters into your area. Here are some of the emergency supplies that you might include into your list:

Fire extinguisher- just because there is flood doesn’t necessarily mean that fires won’t break out

Adequate medicine supply, especially medications that you or your family members are currently taking.

Useful tools such as crescent and pipe wrenches that can be used to turn off gas and water supplies

First-aid kit and handbook to ensure that any injuries suffered during the flood may be well taken cared of

Flashlights with extra bulbs and batteries to keep you ready in case of blackouts

Portable radio with extra batteries to continuously listen to flood situations in your area

Drinking water enough for each family member for at least three days. Keep purification tablets or chlorine bleach on hand in case you need to purify drinking water coming from other sources

Canned and packaged foods, enough to last for several days.

 
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