Flood Safety — Be Prepared

Severe flooding has become a fact of life recently in North America. Take a few minutes to consider how you would keep safe during a flood emergency. Being prepared can help you stay safe and protect your home and work­place.

Before a flood occurs:

n Store survival supplies, including a first aid kit, canned food and a can opener, bottled water, neces­sary medications, and a radio and flashlight with extra batteries for both. Date your water, and change it regularly to maintain a fresh supply. Store a change of clothes and blankets as well.

n Know several safe routes to high ground from home and from work.

n Keep vehicles fueled in case you need to make a quick escape.

In case of a flood:

n Listen to a radio or television for emergency instruc­tions.

n Follow evacuation instructions promptly. If you have time before you leave your home, turn off electricity, gas service, and water. Leave a message indicating where you will be.

n If you have to evacuate your workplace, follow instructions as dictated by your office’s emergency plan. You may be instructed to shut down machinery, board windows, place sandbags, or perform other safeguards.

n If you are trapped by rising water in a building, head upstairs and even to the roof if necessary. Wait for rescue — don’t try to swim.

n Do not try to walk or drive through flood water. If your vehicle stalls, get out and head for high ground, only if safe to do so; otherwise, wait for emergency per­sonnel prior to exiting the vehicle.

n Do not go sightseeing in flooded or storm-damaged areas. Not only does this put you in danger, but it interferes with relief work.

After the flood:

n Do not touch the live electrical equipment in damp areas. Do not try to turn the gas service back on yourself.

n Report damage such as broken gas lines and fallen power lines so these hazards can be repaired promptly.

n Before you enter a building, ensure it is not in danger of collapse. Use a battery-operated flashlight instead of an open flame, which could set off an explosion if natural gas or flammable vapors have accumulated in the building.

n Assume floodwaters are seriously contaminated with sewage and chemicals. Do not eat any food that may have been touched by the water. Disinfect any sur­faces exposed to the floodwaters.

A flood and its aftermath can kill. Besides the danger of drowning, persons can be killed by electrocution, fires, explosions, building collapse, poisoning from chemical spills, and many other causes. Before the waters rise, take time to rehearse how you would stay safe in a flood emer­gency.