Ask Josh Fitzpatrick: Flood Safety

It's one of the biggest weather hazards in our region and meteorologist Josh Fitzpatrick has flood safety tips.

 Flooding

Perhaps the biggest cause of flood-related deaths and injuries is lack of public understanding of the severity and danger involved with floods and flash floods. The following tips can help protect you during flood events.

Many people are killed by driving or walking on roads and bridges that are covered by water. Even though the water might look only inches deep, it could be much deeper and with have strong currents. It only takes two feet of water to carry away a car and six inches of swiftly moving water will sweep a person off his feet. Most trucks, four-wheel drives, and sport utility vehicles also are susceptible to being swept away by high water. Such vehicles often give motorists a false sense of security, believing the vehicles are safe under any conditions.

 

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  • If you are approaching a flooded roadway, turn around and take an alternate route, even though vehicles in front of you may have passed through the high water. 
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  • If your car stalls, abandon it immediately and climb to higher ground. Many deaths have resulted from attempts to move stalled vehicles. 
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  • Never let children play near creeks or storm drains when the water is rising or high. Swimming skills have nothing to do with surviving a flooded creek or stream. 
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  • Flooded streams and rivers are not safe for recreational boating. Many canoeists and kayakers have been rescued from dangerous rapids in flood-swollen streams and rivers.

 

What to do if someone falls in or is trapped in flood water?

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  • Do not go after the victim! 
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  • If possible, throw them victim something to use as a flotation device (spare tire, large ball or foam ice chest). 
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  • Call 911 with correct location information on this water rescue situation.

 

Steps to take today

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  • Buy flood insurance. Homeowners insurance does not cover damage caused by flooding. 
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  • Make an itemized list of personal property, that includes furnishings, clothing, and valuables. Photographs of your home (inside and out) will assist your insurance adjuster in settling claims and will help prove uninsured losses. Put the list and photos in your safe deposit box at the bank. 
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  • Learn the safest route from your home or place of business to high, safe ground if you should have to evacuate in a hurry. 
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  • Keep a portable radio, emergency cooking equipment, and flashlights in working order. Also keep extra batteries on hand. 
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  • People who live in frequently flooded areas should store materials such as sandbags, plywood, plastic sheeting, and lumber which can be used to protect property.
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