Floodwaters are Coming – What NOT to Do…

Over 75% of Presidential disaster declarations are issued due to flooding. While more dramatic natural calamities may draw more media coverage, inundation by water from one source or another leads the statistics for damage and dislocation in this country. Information about positive steps to take in case of a flood is widely available and applicable to scenarios in most locales. However, now and then it’s helpful to take the reverse approach and pass along advice from various experts about what not to do.

Here are some things to avoid when floodwaters threaten:

  • Being out of touch. If potential flood conditions are present, keep a radio or television on and tuned to a channel that provides current coverage and emergency information.
  • Engaging in denial and delay. If official warnings are issued by authorities, don’t put off taking proactive steps to ensure your safety. Past experience with floods that didn’t materialize doesn’t mean you’ll get lucky again.
  • Not having a plan. Every household should have an evacuation plan including routes (and alternate routes) to get out of the area as well as the location of nearest high ground for emergency escape.
  • Staying home to “save the house.” Occupying a house during a significant flood does little or nothing to prevent water inundation nor limit the extent of damage. What it does do is expose the occupant to unnecessary dangers and often require first responders to rescue the trapped individual if/when things get really bad.
  • Wading into floodwater. Moving floodwater is more powerful than you think, deeper than you expect and usually highly toxic due to raw sewage and chemicals picked up along the way. Stay out of it if at all possible.
  • Coming home too soon. Even if local conditions appear to be moderate, don’t return home before an official announcement that it’s safe. Severe weather remote from your location may still swell rivers and lakes and trigger a flash flood.
  • Entering a wet house with power on. Electrical power may still be live in flooded houses. Fatal electrocutions are a frequent post-flood danger. Contact an electrician to disconnet utility power before entering the house.

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