2013 Flood Safety Awareness Week
For those who may not be aware, March 18-23 is Flood Safety Awareness Week, and during this time the Red Cross is encouraging people to become better educated about the nature of floods and the threats that they present, as well as taking proactive steps to be prepared in the event that a flood threatens their neighborhood or community. Floods are the most common natural disaster in the United States, occurring year round and for a variety of different reasons. They cause more weather-related damage than any other natural disaster.
Flooding may be a localized problem affecting one neighborhood, or even a solitary home, or they may be large-scale disasters encompassing entire river basins across multiple states. Floods may develop slowly over a period of days, while others may form in a matter of minutes, and pose extreme imminent threats to life and property.
Residents should always know if their neighborhood is at risk for flooding and be on the alert until the flood threat has passed. Local radio and TV stations are excellent sources of information relating to the flood risk in your area.
The Red Cross also has a number of safety steps that people should follow whenever there is the possibility of flooding threatening the home or business. Flash floods almost always mean that there is very little time to take action, so you should be prepared to evacuate at a moment’s notice. When flood or flash flood warnings are issued, seek higher ground and stay there until the threat is passed.
Flood watches mean that a flood is possible in your area and all residents should move furniture and valuables to higher floors of the home and make sure to fill the vehicle’s gas tank in the event of an evacuation order.
A flood warning means that there is flooding already occurring or will occur soon in a given area, and any flood warnings issued through local media should be heeded. If you are told to evacuate, do so at that time.
Similarly, a flash flood watch means that flash flooding is possible in the area, and residents should be alert for signs of a flash flood and be prepared to evacuate quickly.
Flash flood warnings mean that a flash flood is occurring, and immediate evacuation is advised. You may only have minutes or seconds to escape, so move to higher ground away from rivers, creeks, streams, and storm drains. Do not make any attempt to drive around barricades, as you car may become stalled in rising water. If this happens, abandon it immediately and get to higher ground. Most flash flood deaths are the result of drivers becoming trapped in their vehicles.