One of the most common hazards in the United States are floods. Floods can be local,impacting a neighborhood or large affecting antiretroviral river basins and multiple states. No matter where you live you should prepare for floods. Not only are you probably at risk where you live but when traveling.

Identifying a flood hazard.

Flood watch
Flooding is possible

Flash flood watch
Flash flooding possible, be prepared to move to higher ground

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

To prepare for a flood in your home, consider these steps
Elevate the furnace, water heater, an electric panel if susceptible to flooding.
Install “check valves” in sewer traps to prevent flood water from backing up into the drains of your home.
Seal walls in basements with waterproofing compounds to avoid seepage

During a flood you should keep informed through radio or television
Be aware of streams, drainage channels, canyons and other areas known to flood suddenly.
Be aware that flash flooding can occur, if any signs of flash flooding seek higher ground immediately. Flash floods can occur without warning such as rain clouds or heavy rain.

If you must evacuate, you should do the following:

Secure your home.
Bring in outdoor furniture if time allows
Move essential items to an upper floor
Turn off utilities at the main switches or valves if instructed to do so.
Disconnect electrical appliances
Do not touch electronic equipment if you are wet or standing in water

When leaving keep these tips in mind

Never walk through moving water
Six inches of moving water can make you fall. If you have to walk in water walk where the water is not moving. Use a stick to check the firmness of the ground in front of you.

Do not drive into flooded areas
If floodwaters rise around your car, abandon the vehicle and move to higher ground if you can do so safely
Six inches of water will reach the bottoms of most passenger cars causing loss of control and possible stalling
A foot of water will float many vehicles
Two feet of rushing water can carry away most vehicles including sport utility vehicles and pick-ups.

After a flood

Listen to the news reports to learn whether the community’s water is safe to drink
Avoid floodwaters; water may be contaminated by oil, gasoline, or raw sewage. Water may also be electronically charged from underground or downed power lines.
Avoid moving water
Be aware of areas where floodwaters have receded. Roads may have weakened and could collapse under the weight of a car
Stay away from downed power lines, report them to the power company
Return home only when authorities indicate it is safe
Stay out of any building if it is surrounded by floodwaters
Use extreme caution when entering buildings; there may be hidden damage, particularly in foundations
Service damaged septic tanks, cesspools, pits and leaching systems as soon as possible. Damaged sewage systems are serious health hazards
Clean and disinfect everything that got wet. Mud left from floodwater can contain sewage and chemicals.

When monitoring a storm or flood or any natural disaster remember to keep your bug out bag ready. If you must evacuate your home you will want to have food and supplies to make it through. After the recent hurricane sandy some people lost their homes entirely along with all there possessions and even loved ones. Most people had nothing to their name. Consider things you may need most in a flood situation. Finding clean water to drink and food is important. Staying dry and warm, and first aid. Even a paper cut can become a serous risk after being contaminated in floodwaters. Stock according to your area and needs and be ready to bug out if you have to.


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