Household Safety: Flood Disaster Protection

Information on flooding, how to protect yourself, what measures to prevent disasters. Tips for caring for kids, house, pets and property.

Flood waters can be very dangerous. Just six inches of water moving at a steady pace is enough to knock people off their feet and carry them away. Flood waters are notorious for destroying buildings, trees, roadways, and bridges. Walls of water can form reaching heights of 10 to 15 feet.

Besides fire, floods are the most common natural disaster. Flooding usually occurs after spring rains, heavy storms, or thawing. A more serious cause of flooding is a dam failure.

Floods can occur anywhere, but people who live in low-lying areas, near water, or are down stream from a dam are at a significantly higher risk. States such as California, Texas, Minisota, Illinois, Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississsippi, and Florida are at the greatest risk because that have more square miles of flood plain as opposed to other states.

It is a good idea to find out whether your property is located in a flood prone area. If this is the case, learn the warning and alert singals put in place by your community.

Being prepared before a disaster occurs is key. Follow these steps to better prepare yourself:

*Keep emergency building materials on hand. Plywood, plastic sheeting lumber, nails, sandbags, and wood will all come in handy.

*Plan and practice an evacuation route.

*Keep flashlights, batteries, radio, first aid kit, non-perishable food and water, can opener, medications, cash and credit cards, shoes and clothing ready in case of an emergency.

*Teach family members how to turn off gas, electic, and water.

*Teach children how and when to dial 911.

*And, lastly, learn more about and consider purchasing flood insurance.

If a flood is likely to occur, follow these measures to ensure safty and alertness:

*Make use of your radio for weather updates as well as information concerning the impending flood waters.

*Fill bathtubs, sinks, and containers with clean water incase water becomes contaminated.

*Bring outdoor furiture and toys inside.

*Move valuable possessions to the upper level if possible.

*Be prepared to evacuate if nessesary.

During a flood take these measures:

*Listen to the radio for information.

*Get your preassembled supplies ready.

*If told to evacuate, do so.

Not all people will happen to be indoors during a flood. In the event that you are outside, climb to higher ground and avoid walking in flood waters. In a car, if you come to a flooded area, turn your car around an go the other way. If your car becomes stuck or stalls in water, abandon it immediatly and go to higher ground.

Flood dangers do not end when the water starts to receed. Stay tuned to your radio for further instructions. When allowed to return to your propery, inspect with caution. Enter buildings wearing shoes and have light with you. Watch out for snakes that may have come into your home with the flood waters. Watch for walls and ceilings that do not look stable. Take pictures for insurance purposes. Check for fire hazards, too. Gas leaks, electical damage and sewage and water line damage are all possible with flooding.

And, lastly, throw away all foods that came in contact with flood waters.

Flooding has killed more than 10,000 people in the last century and done billions in damage. Being prepared for this kind of event can be extreamly helpful in preventing loss of property and loss of life.

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