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3 Tips to be Prepared for Flash Flooding Conditions

Tuesday, April 9th, 2019

While some flood scenarios develop after days of heavy rain or a predictable incident such as a river overflowing its banks, flash floods are a rapid-onset event that can strike in an instant. Areas dry only moments before may suddenly be inundated with water. Preventive measures, therefore, must be taken in advance. Once a flash flood occurs, there will usually not be adequate time to make preparations at that late stage. While you can’t prevent the conditions that may trigger a flash flood, here are three steps you can take to reduce risk and losses if flash flooding strikes:

Know your risk. You may be living in an area of high potential hazard for flash flooding and not even be aware of it. Flood risk maps are available from agencies such as FEMA or your local emergency management office. These maps depict flood risk for your local community and your specific address. A high-risk zone means you have at least a one-in-four chance of experiencing flooding. In designated high-risk zones, you are five times more likely to experience damage from a flash flood than from a fire.

Reduce potential damage. If you live an area where flash flood risk is high, certain home improvements may help reduce damage. Elevate critical components such as electrical panels, appliances and HVAC systems where they will be less likely to contact water. Waterproof the basement to reduce inundation due to high ground water during a flood. Make sure a basement sump pump is installed and test it several times a year to verify that it functions properly. Store valuables and important documents on an upstairs level of the house or some other safe place.

Be prepared to evacuate. Become familiar with the fastest and safest routes out of the affected area to higher ground should a flash flood strike. If local authorities issue a flash flood warning, evacuate immediately and don’t wait for additional signs of impending high water. Don’t drive or walk through any flooded areas, as only a few inches of water during a flash flood can be dangerous.

5 Essential Flash Flood Safety Tips

Tuesday, November 7th, 2017

flash floodingThough tornadoes and hurricanes top the headlines, observing a few flash flood safety tips could actually save more lives. In an average year, over 125 people die in flash floods in the U.S.—nearly twice the fatalities due to tornadoes and hurricanes. A flash flood is the sudden inundation of a normally dry, low-lying area with fast moving, rapidly rising flood water. Typically, it follows intense rainfall. However, storm activity may occur miles from the area actually affected by flooding, which may remain totally dry until a surging wall of water strikes, often with only brief warning.

No region is totally immune to the damage and danger posed by this extreme weather phenomenon. Here are five flash flood safety tips to keep in mind:

  1. Know Your Risk. Find out in advance if your home is located in a low-lying area susceptible to flash flooding under certain weather circumstances. Know where the nearest higher ground is located and the safest, most direct route to reach it.
  2. Get Ready To Go. If a flash flood watch is posted by the National Weather Service, prepare to evacuate. Remaining at home will not be a safe option in most cases. Stay tuned to local media and/or NOAA emergency radios for updates.
  3. Act Fast. If a flash flood warning is announced, evacuate to higher ground without delay. You do not have time to make efforts to preserve property or possessions.
  4. “Turn Around, Don’t Drown.” During evacuation, do not drive or walk through flood water. The current generated by a flash flood only two feet deep will float most vehicles off the road. If you are on foot, be aware that just six inches of swift-flowing flood water can knock you down.
  5. Stay Away Until It’s Safe. A flash flood may occur in a series of surges. Just because water temporarily recedes doesn’t mean it’s safe to return home yet. Wait until an official “All Clear” is issued by authorities before returning to low-lying areas.


What To Do In A Flood – A Checklist For Your Emergency Kit!

Thursday, August 24th, 2017

emeergency kitKnowing what to do in a flood is vital information wherever you live. Floods are the number one natural disaster in the U.S. Yet, fully 25% of flood insurance claims originate outside areas officially designated as high-risk zones on flood maps. Moreover, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), no-risk zones don’t exist: Some flood potential is always present, no matter where you may live.

Professional advice for what to do in a flood stresses advance preparation. Flooding is frequently not a predictable phenomenon that offers extensive early warning to get ready. Assembling an emergency kit now, before a crisis looms, ensures you’ll be prepared when the time comes and ready to focus on other important matters. Here’s a checklist of things to include in a flood emergency kit.

  • Three-day supply of water and food. Figure one gallon of water per person per day. Food should be non-perishable suitable for long storage. Remember never to use charcoal as a cooking fuel inside the house due to danger of deadly carbon monoxide fumes emitted by burning charcoal.
  • Disposable plates and cups as well as eating utensils.
  • A radio that can be powered by hand crank. Models that also incorporate a flashlight and cell phone charger are particularly useful.
  • Flashlights (one for each person) and extra batteries. Check the expiration date on the batteries and replace them in storage when they expire.
  • A first-aid kit appropriate to the number of persons in the household and any special needs such as specific medications. Also include implements like tweezers and scissors.
  • Personal hygiene items such as toothbrushes and tooth paste, toilet papers and towelettes.
  • Matches in a sealed waterproof packet.
  • Coins and cash in smaller denominations. ATMs may be non-functional following a flood and merchants may also be unable to take larger bills. Also have photocopies of ID cards for every adult in the house.
  • Extra house keys. Sleeping accommodations such as sleeping bags and/or blankets appropriate to local weather.

For more advice about what to do in a flood as well as professional recovery services in the aftermath, contact Rytech, Inc.


Staying Safe: Precautions to Take When There is a Flash Flood Warning

Tuesday, January 12th, 2016

Every year, basic flash flood safety tips turn out to be good advice for millions of Americans. Flash floods are considered a coast-to-coast threat because they may result from a variety of triggering events. The most common cause of flash flooding is extreme amounts of rainfall or snow melt occurring faster than the soil can absorb the water. A flash flood can take place within minutes or up to several hours after a triggering event. It’s important to note that flash floods may affect dry areas distant from the area where the heavy rain actually fell.

A flash flood watch issued by the National Weather Service is a notification to stay alert because conditions that may result in flooding are possible. A flash flood warning, however, means floodingflash flood safety tips is imminent or already occurring. It’s an urgent message to take immediate action to preserve life. If the National Weather Service issues a flash flood warning, here are a few flash flood safety tips to keep in mind:

  • If you are advised to evacuate, act fast to move to higher ground. Lock your house and go. Once a warning has been issued, you may have only a very short time to reach safety.
  • The safest action is to go to the nearest higher ground on foot. If you must drive your vehicle, don’t attempt to drive through flooded areas. The majority of flash flood deaths in the U.S. occur inside vehicles swept away by high water. If your car should be swamped by flood water, abandon the vehicle at once and get to higher ground on foot.
  • Don’t walk or wade into moving water. Flowing water only six inches deep has enough velocity to knock you down.
  • Avoid any casual contact with standing water. Flood water may be extremely toxic due to raw sewage or chemicals that have been picked up along the path of flooding.
  • If the potential for threatening weather exists, don’t camp or park near streams or dry washes.

For more flash flood safety tips, ask the professionals at Rytech, Inc.