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Evacuating During a Flood
When it comes to flooding, it is always advisable to make evacuation plans and get out before the waters start rising. However, this is not always the case. Sometimes the problem is of the flash flooding variety, which means that the waters rise rapidly and give little or no warning to those who may be unfortunate enough to get caught in its path. At other times, people simply do not give the flood warnings much credence, and as a result, they end up staring down rising waters with no preparation made, no evacuation route planned, and no end destination in sight.
If you find yourself in a position where you must evacuate immediately, it is important to know what to do, and in the right order, if you expect to have any hope of successfully getting out of the storm’s path.
For starters, make sure your family is all accounted for, then identify a place you can go that is out of the danger path of the storm of flood. Contact an out of state friend or relative to let them know where you are going, and contact them again when you get there.
Pack a bag for each family member filled with enough clothes, provisions, money, etc to support a stay of several days away from home. Make sure your vehicle’s tank is filled before attempting to evacuate. Evacuation routes may be crowded and you don’t want to run out of gas in the process.
If you have time, secure the home, elevating all valuable items to an upper floor to keep them out of range of the flood waters, and then locking the door behind you when you leave. It may sound like a small thing, but thieves and looters won’t waste much time trying to get into a locked home or business, especially when there are usually so many left unlocked because the owners left in such a hurry.
Check on your neighbors and see if they need transportation; this is especially important if your neighbors are elderly or in some way incapacitated.
Be aware of conditions when evacuating. Do not try to drive through any moving water. Remember that it only takes about six inches of moving water to knock a grown man off his feet, and less than two feet of moving water is enough to float and move a car (this includes SUVs). Most fatalities that occur during evacuations are the result of people becoming trapped and swept away in their vehicles.
If your vehicle does become trapped in by rising water, get out and move to higher ground. Remember that where there is water, there may not be a road beneath it anymore. You may find yourself swept away be a fast current.
Downed power lines are common in flood situations. Stay away from them and report any you see to local authorities. Do not attempt to touch the lines even if they appear to be inactive.
Lastly, have the contact number for a qualified water restoration company to handle the damage to your property following the flood.