flood

Did you know that floodwaters as little as six inches deep can be strong enough to sweep a person off their feet?

Floods are among the most frequent and costly natural disasters. When heavy or steady rain saturates the ground over several hours or days, flood conditions may occur. Flash floods occur suddenly due to rapidly rising water along a stream or low-lying area.

Before 

• Know your flood risk and locations where flooding may occur.

• Make an escape plan and build a kit.

• Listen to area radio and television stations and a NOAA weather radio for possible flood warnings and reports of flooding in progress or other critical information from the National Weather Service (NWS).

• Because standard homeowner’s insurance does not cover flooding, it’s important to have protection from floods associated with hurricanes, tropical storms, heavy rains and other conditions that impact the U.S. For more flood safety tips and information on flood insurance, please visit the National Flood Insurance Program website at FloodSmart.gov.

• Raise your furnace, water heater and electric panel to floors that are less likely to be flooded. An undamaged water heater may be your best source of fresh water after a flood.

• Install check-valves (valves that allow fluid to flow through in only one direction) in plumbing to prevent floodwater from backing up into the drains in your home.

• Seal walls in basements with waterproofing compounds to avoid seepage through cracks.

• If a flood is expected, some communities might offer free sandbags to residents. Listen to the news or contact local emergency management agencies to learn more about these resources.

• Fill your car’s gas tank in case you need to evacuate.

• Move your furniture and valuables to higher floors of your home.

• Move livestock to higher ground. If using a trailer to evacuate animals, move animals sooner rather than later. 

During

• When a flood or flash flood warning is issued for your area, head for higher ground and stay there. Avoid walking or driving through floodwaters. As little as six inches of moving water can knock you down, and two feet of moving water can sweep a vehicle away.

• Stay away from floodwaters. If you come upon a flowing stream and the water is above your ankles, stop, turn around and go another way.

• If you encounter a flooded road while driving, turn around, don’t drown. 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. 

• Avoid contact with floodwater. It may be contaminated with sewage or contain dangerous insects or animals.

• Dispose of any food that has come into contact with floodwater.

After

• Let friends and family know you’re safe.

• Do not enter your home until officials say it is safe to do so.

• Report downed power lines to your utility company and do not step in puddles or standing water.

• Wear protective clothing, including rubber gloves and rubber boots, and be cautious when cleaning up.

• Wear protective clothing, including rubber gloves and rubber boots, and be cautious when cleaning up.

• Disinfect anything that flood water touches. 

More information about repairing your flooded home is available online at www.redcross.org.

Additional information, including maps about flooding, are available on the Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries (oregongeology.org) or Washington Department of Natural Resources (dnr.wa.gov) websites.

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