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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Flood Preparedness

With much of the eastern part of the country under some kind of flood watch or warning, I thought it would be a good idea to post some information on flood preparedness. It's important that you find out if your area is prone to flooding, whether it be general flooding or flash flooding. Flash flooding is especially dangerous since it can come upon you so suddenly.

Sometimes all the different terms can be confusing, so here are some definitions to help you figure out a watch from a warning.

Flood: Know Your Terms

Familiarize yourself with these terms to help identify a flood hazard:

Flood Watch: Flooding is possible. Tune in to NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio, or television for information.

Flash Flood Watch: Flash flooding is possible. Be prepared to move to higher ground; listen to NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio, or television for information.

Flood Warning: Flooding is occurring or will occur soon; if advised to evacuate, do so immediately.

Flash Flood Warning: A flash flood is occurring; seek higher ground on foot immediately.

PLEASE, IF YOU ARE IN A CAR DURING FLOODING CONDITIONS AND YOU COME ACROSS WATER IN THE ROAD--DO NOT DRIVE THROUGH IT! Way too many people are killed by recklessly driving through water when they don't know how deep it is and their car gets swept away. TURN AROUND AND FIND A SAFER WAY TO GO!

It's always a good idea to have supplies on hand when there is a chance of flooding. Here's a checklist from the American Red Cross, which suggests having these supplies handy in case you need to evacuate because of flooding:

_ Water—at least a 3-day supply; one gallon per person per day
_ Food—at least a 3-day supply of nonperishable, easy-to-prepare food
_ Flashlight
_ Battery-powered or hand-crank radio (NOAA Weather Radio, if possible)
_ Extra batteries
_ First aid kit
_ Medications (7-day supply) and medical items (hearing aids with extra batteries, glasses, contact lenses, syringes, cane)
_ Multi-purpose tool
_ Sanitation and personal hygiene items
_ Copies of personal documents (medication list and pertinent medical information, deed/lease to home, birth certificates, insurance policies)
_ Cell phone with chargers
_ Family and emergency contact information
_ Extra cash
_ Emergency blanket
_ Map(s) of the area
_ Baby supplies (bottles, formula, baby food, diapers)
_ Pet supplies (collar, leash, ID, food, carrier, bowl)
_ Tools/supplies for securing your home
_ Extra set of car keys and house keys
_ Extra clothing, hat and sturdy shoes
_ Rain gear
_ Insect repellent and sunscreen_ Camera for photos of damage

For more information on Floods, here are some links:

Key Facts About Flood Readiness: Preparing for a Flood (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

Flood (Federal Emergency Management Agency)

Flood Safety Checklist (Complete list) (American Red Cross) - PDF

Floods (Dept. of Homeland Security)

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