- Some floods develop slowly, sometimes over a period of days.
- Flash floods develop quickly, sometimes in just a few minutes and without any visible signs of rain. Flash floods often have a dangerous wall of roaring water that carries rocks, mud and other debris and can sweep away most things in its path.
- Overland flooding occurs outside a defined river or stream, such as a flood caused by a breached levee. Flooding can also occur when a dam breaks, producing dangers similar to flash floods.
- Elevate and reinforce your home if you live in a low-lying area near water or downstream from a dam . Even very small streams, gullies, creeks, culverts, dry streambeds and low-lying ground that appear harmless in dry weather can flood.
- Keep your furnace, water heater and electrical panel elevated if you are in an area susceptible to flooding.
- Construct barriers to keep floodwaters from entering your home.
- Listen to the radio or TV for information.
- In the case of a flash flood, move immediately to higher ground. Do not wait for instructions to move.
- Be aware of streams, drainage channels, canyons and other areas known to flood suddenly.
In evacuation situations:
- Secure your home. If you have time, bring in outdoor furniture and move essential items to an upper floor.
- Turn off utilities at the main switches or valves if instructed to do so.
- Disconnect electrical appliances. Do not touch electrical equipment if you are wet or standing in water.
- Do not walk through moving water. Six inches of moving water can knock you off your feet. If you must walk in water, walk where the water is not moving. Use a stick to check the firmness of the ground in front of you.
- Do not drive into flooded areas. If floodwaters rise around your car, abandon the car and move to higher ground if you can do so safely. You and the vehicle can be quickly swept away.
The following are important points to remember when driving in flood conditions:
- Six inches of water will reach the bottom of most passenger cars causing loss of control and possible stalling.
- A foot of water will float many vehicles.
- Two feet of rushing water can carry most vehicles, including sport utility vehicles (SUV’s) and pick-ups.
In the event of a power outage, the following should be discarded:
- Perishable foods including meats, dairy products and eggs that have not been refrigerated for more than two hours.
- Foods contaminated by floodwaters.
- Find out if the water supply is safe to drink before consuming water.
- Residents under a boil water notice should bring water to a rolling boil for one minute.
- Drink bottled water if available.
- If you cannot boil water, add six drops of unscented household bleach per one gallon of water and let stand for thirty minutes prior to use. Water purification tablets are also available at most pharmacies and sporting goods stores.
- Walking, swimming, or driving through floodwaters is extremely dangerous. Fast-moving floodwater produces more force than most people imagine. Floodwaters often contain sewage and dangerous bacteria levels.
- Do not drive through floodwater or in areas where the water may have receded. These areas can be fragile and susceptible to collapsing under your vehicle’s weight.
- If you are driving and come upon floodwaters, stop, turn around and go another way.
- Do not drive where water is covering the road.
- Do not enter a building surrounded by floodwaters.
- Be very careful when entering a building damaged by floodwaters. Hidden damage is likely and can be extremely dangerous.
- Repair damaged sewage systems as they can cause serious health risks.
- Clean and disinfect everything that got wet during the flood because the floodwater may be contaminated.
Portable generators can be hazardous if used improperly. Carbon Monoxide (CO) is a colorless, tasteless and odorless gas produced by incomplete combustion in internal-combustion engines. CO poses a serious health risk due to its ability to displace Oxygen. Carbon monoxide is fast becoming a killer among people of all ages.
To avoid CO poisoning:
- Only operate generators outdoors in a well-ventilated, dry area, away from air intakes to the home.
- Never use generators indoors or in attached garages.
- Plug individual appliances into the generator using heavy duty, outdoor rated cords with a wire gauge adequate for the appliance load.
- Observe the generator manufacturer’s instructions for safe operation.
- Do not plug the generator into a wall outlet.
- If you must connect the generator into the house wiring, have a qualified electrician hook up the standby electrical system.
- Wear protective clothing, including grip gloves, a hard hat, safety goggles, hearing protection, non-slip steel-toe shoes and trim-fitted clothing that won’t get caught in the chain.
- Follow instructions in the owner’s manual for starting and operating the saw.
- Stand to the side of the saw so you won’t follow the cut through into your leg.
- Hold the saw parallel to the ground, holding your left arm straight for better control and to reduce the chance of kickback.
- Keep both hands on the saw while it is running.
- Avoid cutting above mid-chest height.
- Never try to cut a tree with a diameter greater than the length of the chainsaw blade.
- Be extremely careful when cutting limbs or stems of trees that are bent or under tension; the branch can spring back into the operator.
- Carry the saw below the waist with the engine off and bar pointed to the rear.
- Do not work alone. Have a companion nearby and keep bystanders and helpers at a safe distance.
Communication & Recovery
- Follow the City of Orlando on Twitter @citybeautiful and Facebook for immediate updates and resources.
- Check-in with family and friends by texting or using social media.
- Return home only when authorities indicate it is safe.
- Photograph the damage to your property in order to assist in filing an insurance claim.
- Do what you can to prevent further damage to your property, (e.g., putting a tarp on a damaged roof), as insurance may not cover additional damage that occurs after the storm.
For more information about how to prepare for floods, visit America’s PrepareAthon site.