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Red Cross flood tips

Red Cross encourages families to be prepared and cautious

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[Arpil 19, 2013]  PEORIA -- Due to heavy rains, many parts of central Illinois are experiencing rising water and flash floods. The Red Cross is encouraging people traveling to be cautious and careful.

Preparing for floods

Flash floods can catch people unprepared. Due to the sudden nature of flash flooding, you may not hear a warning from emergency officials if your area has been affected. Nonetheless:

  • Listen to NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio and television for the latest flash flood and flood watches, warnings, and advisories.

  • Know the difference between a flash flood watch and warning:

    • A watch means a flash flood is possible. If a flash flood watch is issued in your area, be sure to fill your car's gas tank so you can be prepared to leave immediately in case an evacuation notice is issued.

    • A warning means flash flooding is already occurring or will occur soon. If a flash flood warning is issued, move to higher ground away from rivers, creeks and storm drains.

  • Install check valves in building sewer traps to prevent floodwater from backing up into the drains of your home.

What to do in an area of flash flooding

Floodwaters are dangerous and powerful. Be extremely cautious when confronted with floodwaters and know their awesome power.

In the car:

  • Look out for flooding at highway dips, bridges and low areas. If you come upon floodwaters, don't drive through them; the road could be washed out underneath. A depth of 2 feet will float your car.

  • Do not attempt to drive through road barricades. They are there for your safety. If you come upon a barricade warning of high water, seek an alternate route.

  • If your car stalls in rapidly rising waters, abandon it immediately and climb to higher ground.

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Out of the car:

  • Even 6 inches of fast-moving flood water can knock you off your feet. Many people are swept away wading through floodwaters.

  • Never try to walk or swim through swift water. If you come upon floodwaters, stop, turn around and go another way.

  • Never play around high water, storm drains, ditches, ravines or culverts. It is very easy to be swept away by fast-moving water.

What to do after a flood

  • Return home only when officials have declared the area safe.

  • Before entering your home, look outside for loose power lines, damaged gas lines, foundation cracks or other damage.

  • Parts of your home may be collapsed or damaged. Approach entrances carefully. See if porch roofs and overhangs have all their supports.

  • If you smell natural or propane gas or hear a hissing noise, leave immediately and call the fire department.

  • If power lines are down outside your home, do not step in puddles or standing water.

  • Keep children and pets away from hazardous sites and floodwater.

  • Materials such as cleaning products, paint, batteries, contaminated fuel and damaged fuel containers are hazardous. Check with local authorities for assistance with disposal to avoid risk.

  • During cleanup, wear protective clothing, including rubber gloves and rubber boots.

  • Make sure your food and water are safe. Discard items that have come in contact with floodwater, including canned goods, water bottles, plastic utensils and baby bottle nipples. When in doubt, throw it out!

[Text from file received from the American Red Cross, Central Illinois Chapter]

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