Severe Weather Preparedness Week
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[MARCH 2, 2005]
By becoming familiar with and implementing the following
recommended actions, you and your family will be better protected
in the event of flooding.
Before a flood
Know the terms used to describe
Flood watch -- Flooding or flash flooding is
possible. Be prepared to move to higher ground. Listen to NOAA
Weather Radio, commercial radio or commercial television for
Flood warning -- Flooding is occurring or
will occur soon. If advised to evacuate, do so immediately.
Flash flood warning -- A flash flood is
occurring or is imminent. Move to higher ground immediately. Flash floods develop MUCH quicker than river floods.
Flood statement -- Minor flooding of creeks
and streams, streets, low-lying areas, or basement flooding is
occurring or is imminent.
Learn flood warning signs and, if used
in your area, any community alert signals.
Know how to shut off electricity, gas
and water at main switches and valves. Know where gas pilots are
located and how the heating system works.
Have check valves installed in building
sewer traps to prevent floodwaters from backing up in sewer
drains. As a last resort, use large corks or stoppers to plug
showers, tubs or basins.
Consider measures for flood-proofing
your home. Call your local building department or emergency
management agency for information.
Consider purchasing flood
insurance. Flood losses are not covered under homeowners insurance
policies. Flood insurance is available in most communities through
the National Flood Insurance Program. There is usually a period
before it takes effect, so don't delay. Flood insurance is available
whether the building is in or out of the identified flood-prone
area. Call your insurance company for more information.
Insure your property and
possessions. Make an inventory of your possessions, using paper
lists, photographs or videotapes of your belongings. Leave a copy
with your insurance company. Update your inventory and review your
coverage with your insurance company periodically.
Keep all of your
important records and documents in a safe deposit box or another
safe place away from the premises.
During a flood
Monitor the radio or television for the
latest weather information.
Move valuable household possessions to
the upper floor or move to another location if flooding is imminent
and time permits.
If instructed to do so by local
authorities, turn off utilities at their source.
Listen to a battery-operated radio for
If advised to evacuate, do so quickly.
Evacuation is much simpler and safer
before floodwaters become too deep for ordinary vehicles to drive
Follow recommended evacuation routes.
Shortcuts may be blocked.
People lose their lives
by attempting to drive over a flooded roadway. The speed and depth
of the water is not always obvious. There may be a hidden portion of
the roadway washed out under the water. Two feet of water will carry
away most automobiles.
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After a flood
Flood dangers do not end when the water
begins to recede. Listen to a radio or television and don't return
home until authorities indicate it is safe to do so.
When you are allowed to return,
remember to help your neighbors who may require special assistance.
Inspect foundations for cracks or other
When entering buildings, use extreme
Look for fire hazards.
If your home was damaged, check the
Stay out of buildings that remain in
Avoid coming in contact with
floodwaters. The water may be contaminated with oil, gasoline or raw
Do not wade through a flooded stream to
protect or retrieve belongings.
Consider your family's health and
safety. Wash your hands frequently with soap and clean water if you
come in contact with floodwaters. Listen for news reports to learn
whether the community's water supply is safe to drink.
Throw away food -- including canned
goods -- that has come in contact with floodwaters.
Pump out flooded basements gradually
(about one-third of the water per day) to avoid structural damage.
Service damaged septic tanks,
cesspools, pits and leaching systems as soon as possible. Damaged
sewer systems pose a health hazard.
Stay alert for areas where floodwaters
have receded. Roads may have weakened and could collapse under the
weight of a vehicle.
Do not let children play in or near
floodwaters, flooded creeks or flood retention ponds.
Stay away from downed power
lines. Report them to the utility company immediately.
If unaffected by the flood, stay out of
the area until allowed to enter by officials. Your presence may
hamper emergency operations.
Monitor the radio for special
information about where to go to get assistance for housing,
clothing and food. Other programs are available to help you cope
with the stress of the situation.
Take photos of or videotape the damage
to your home and your belongings.
[From booklet prepared by the
Service, Illinois Emergency Management Agency and