Floods can happen in any part of the country and people need to be prepared if floodwaters are threatening their community. The American Red Cross has steps people can take to be ready.
Floods are among the most frequent and costly natural disasters. Flooding often occurs following a hurricane, thawing snow, or several days of sustained rain. Flooding can occur at any time of the year, but different regions face the risk at different times of the year. Communities along the coast are at greater risk during hurricane season. The Midwest faces a greater threat in the spring and summer from spring storms, as does the Northwest with melting snows and ice jams.
Turn around, don’t drown. If driving, turn around and go another way. If you are caught on a flooded road and waters are rising rapidly around you, get out of the car quickly and move to higher ground. Most cars can be swept away by less than two feet of moving water.
People living in communities threatened by flooding should keep informed about weather conditions and listen to the advice of local officials.
Follow evacuation orders. Stay away from floodwaters. If you come upon a flowing stream where water is above your ankles, stop, turn around and go another way.
Keep children and pets out of the water.
Be especially cautious at night when it’s harder to see flood danger.
After a flood, do not attempt to return to affected areas until officials say it is safe to do so.
Once you are able to go home, look for loose power lines, damaged gas lines, cracks in the foundation or other damage before you enter your home.
During cleanup, wear protective clothing, including rubber gloves and rubber boots.
Watch out for wild animals, especially poisonous snakes that may have come into your home with the floodwater.
If you smell natural or propane gas or hear a hissing noise, leave immediately and call the fire department.
If power lines are down outside your home, do not step in puddles or standing water.
Materials such as cleaning products, paint, batteries, contaminated fuel and damaged fuel containers are hazardous. Check with local authorities for assistance with disposal to avoid risk.
Make sure your food and water are safe. Discard items that have come in contact with floodwater, including canned goods, water bottles, plastic utensils and baby bottle nipples. When in doubt, throw it out.
DOWNLOAD OUR APPS
Download the free Red Cross Emergency App to receive emergency alerts and information about what to do in case of flooding, as well as locations of open Red Cross shelters. Users can find it in smartphone app stores by searching for the American Red Cross, texting GETEMERGENCY to 90999 for a link to download the app or going to redcross.org/apps. Parents can also download the Red Cross Monster Guard: Prepare for Emergencies App for a fun game to teach children what to do in case of a disaster. People can also text MONSTER to 90999 for a link to download the Monster Guard App.
About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.