If you must leave during a flood....
10/11/2019 - Future Scheduled Date
If you must leave:
- Secure your home. If you have time, bring in outdoor furniture. Move important items to an upper floor.
- Turn off water, gas and power at the main switches or valves if told 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 make you fall. If you have to 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, leave the car and move to higher ground if you can do so safely. You and the vehicle can be swept away quickly.
- Do not camp or park your vehicle along streams, rivers or creeks, particularly during threatening weather.
During a Flood
During a Flood
If a flood is likely in your area:
- Listen to the radio or television to learn what to do.
- Know that flash flooding can occur. If there is any possibility of a flash flood, move quickly to higher ground. Do not wait to be told to move.
- Know that streams, drainage channels, canyons and other areas can flood quickly. Flash floods can happen in these areas with or without typical warnings.
Know the Terms: Flooding
Know the terms:
- Flood watch – rainfall is heavy enough to cause rivers to overflow their banks. Flooding is possible.
- Flood warning – flooding is occurring or very likely to happen in an affected river, lake or tidewater area. If told to leave, do so immediately.
- Flash flood watch – flash flooding in specified areas is possible. Be alert! You may need to take quick action.
- Flash flood warning – flash flooding is occurring or is likely to happen along certain streams and select areas. Get to a safe place immediately!
Prepare For a Flood
To prepare for a flood:
- Build an emergency kit.
- Make a family communications plan.
- Do not build in a floodplain unless you raise it up and support your home.
- Raise up the furnace, water heater and electric panel in your home if you live in a high flood risk area.
- Think about putting in "check valves" to prevent flood water from backing up into the drains of your home.
- If you can, build barriers to stop floodwater from entering the building. Seal walls in basements with waterproofing compounds.
Before a Flood
10/7/2019 - Future Scheduled Date
You should know that anywhere it rains, it can flood. Floods can even be in areas with a low risk of flooding. Just because you haven't had a flood in the past doesn't mean you won't in the future. Flood risk is based on a lot of factors including rainfall, landscape, flood-control measures, river-flow and tidal-surge data, flood history and changes due to new construction and development.
Flood-hazard maps have been made to show the flood risk for your area. This helps figure out the type of flood insurance coverage you need. Regular homeowners and renters insurance don’t cover flooding. The lower the degree of risk of flooding, the lower the flood insurance premium.
Pet Fire Safety
Each year, more than 500,000 pets are affected by house fires, with 1,000 house fires started by pets themselves. In order to prevent and prepare for a possible house fire, it is important to remember your pets when thinking about your fire preparedness plan.
PREVENTING A FIRE
- Reduce open flame exposure – Pets are curious and may try to investigate your unattended candles or fireplace. Opt instead for flameless candles or an enclosed fireplace to prevent an accidental knock or escaped ember from burning out of control.
- Put covers on or remove stove knobs and discourage climbing in the kitchen – An accidental nudge of a stove knob is the number one cause of house fires started by pets. By preventing your pet from interacting with a stove, you can take a big step toward preventing fires.
- Secure loose wires – Pets may like to chew on wires and cords, but ensure that these items are out of reach from your pet, as they can lead to fires.
- Never put a glass bowl on a wooden porch – The sun’s rays can heat the bowl and cause a fire on your wooden deck. Opt instead for ceramic or stainless-steel dishes when outside.
PREPARING FOR A FIRE
- Include your pet into your family emergency plan and practice taking them with you. Talk with your family members to determine who is responsible for grabbing your pets and who should grab their supplies (food, medication, photo, leashes and carriers, medical records) during an emergency so you can reduce scrambling and redundancy when speed and efficiency are needed.
- Put a decal in your home’s front window indicating the number and type of pets you have – Providing this information can cut down on the time responders spend searching your home in the case of a fire.
- Make sure your pet’s updated contact information is reflected on their ID collar and in the microchip database – If your pet gets lost during a fire, this will help rescuers get him or her back to you.
- Use monitored smoke detectors that are connected to emergency responders – Should a fire start while you are away from your home, you’ll rest assured that your pet has access to emergency response services even if no one is home to call them.
- Know your pets’ hideaways and create ways for easy access to them in case of an emergency – It’s nice that your pet can get away if he or she wants to, but in an emergency, you need to be able to locate and extract your pet as quickly as possible.
DURING A FIRE
- Attempt to grab your pet and exit the home as quickly as possible, but if it takes too long to locate or secure them, leave – You should never delay escape or endanger yourself or your family. Once responders get there, immediately inform them your pet is still inside, so they can go enter your home and continue looking for your pet.
- Grab leashes and carriers on your way out – Outside will be chaotic and that may cause your pet to try to escape to a calm, safe area.
- Never go back inside a burning house. If you can’t find your pet, leave, open the door, and call to them repeatedly from a safe distance away. Let firefighters take over the task of locating your pet.
Fire Safety: Be a Hero
Be a hero
How do you define a hero? Is it…a person who is courageous and performs good deeds? Someone who comes to the aid of others, even at personal risk?
A hero can be all of those things. A hero can also be…someone who takes small, but important actions to keep themselves and those around them safe from fire. When it comes to fire safety, maybe you’re already a hero in your household or community. If not, maybe you’re feeling inspired to become one. It's easy to take that first step - make your home escape plan!
2019 Fire Safety Campaign
This year’s FPW campaign, “Not Every Hero Wears a Cape. Plan and Practice Your Escape!” works to educate everyone about the small but important actions they can take to keep themselves and those around them safe.
Did you know?
In a typical home fire, you may have as little as one to two minutes to escape safely from the time the smoke alarm sounds. Escape planning and practice can help you make the most of the time you have,giving everyone enough time to get out.
A better understanding of tropical cyclones and hurricane hazards will help to make a more informed decision on your risk and what actions to take.
The major hazards associated with hurricanes are:
Before and after Hurricane Ike on the Bolivar Peninsula, TX - September 2008/USGS Storm Surge & Storm Tide
- storm surge and storm tide
- heavy rainfall and inland flooding
- high winds
- rip currents
Storm surge and large waves produced by hurricanes pose the greatest threat to life and property along the coast.
Storm Surge is an abnormal rise of water generated by a storm's winds. Storm surge can reach heights well over 20 feet and can span hundreds of miles of coastline.
Storm Tide is the water level rise during a storm due to the combination of storm surge and the astronomical tide.
The destructive power of storm surge and large battering waves can result in loss of life, buildings destroyed, beach and dune erosion and road and bridge damage along the coast. Storm surge can travel several miles inland. In estuaries and bayous, salt water intrusion endangers public health and the environment.
- Notable Storm Surge Events
- Storm Surge Risk Map for U.S. Coast
- Storm Surge Vulnerability Facts
- Coastal Inundation Visualization
Learn more about storm surge from the NHC Storm Surge Unit. Heavy Rainfall & Inland Flooding
Tropical cyclones often produce widespread, torrential rains in excess of 6 inches, which may result in deadly and destructive floods. In fact, flooding is the major threat from tropical cyclones for people living inland. Flash flooding, defined as a rapid rise in water levels, can occur quickly due to intense rainfall. Longer term flooding on rivers and streams can persist for several days after the storm. When approaching water on a roadway, always remember Turn Around Don't Drown.
Rainfall amounts are not directly related to the strength of tropical cyclones but rather to the speed and size of the storm, as well as the geography of the area. Slower moving and larger storms produce more rainfall. In addition, mountainous terrain enhances rainfall from a tropical cyclone.
Learn more about rainfall from the NWS Weather Prediction Center.
Conceptual animation illustrates the wind damage associated with increasing hurricane intensity - courtesy of The COMET Program
Tropical storm-force winds are strong enough to be dangerous to those caught in them. For this reason, emergency managers plan on having their evacuations complete and their personnel sheltered before the onset of tropical storm-force winds, not hurricane-force winds.
Hurricane-force winds, 74 mph or more, can destroy buildings and mobile homes. Debris, such as signs, roofing material, siding and small items left outside become flying missiles during hurricanes. Winds can stay above hurricane strength well inland. In 2004, Hurricane Charley made landfall at Punta Gorda on the southwest Florida coast and produced major damage well inland across central Florida with gusts of more than 100 mph.
Atlantic and Eastern Pacific hurricanes are classified into five categories according to the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale, which estimates potential property damage according to the hurricane's sustained wind speed.
The strong winds of a tropical cyclone can cause dangerous waves that pose a significant hazard to mariners and coastal residents and visitors. When the waves break along the coast, they can produce deadly rip currents - even at large distances from the storm.
Rip currents are channeled currents of water flowing away from shore, usually extending past the line of breaking waves, that can pull even the strongest swimmers away from shore.
In 2008, despite the fact that Hurricane Bertha was more than a 1,000 miles offshore, the storm resulted in rip currents that killed three people along the New Jersey coast and required 1,500 lifeguard rescues in Ocean City, Maryland, over a 1 week period.
In 2009, all six deaths in the United States directly attributable to tropical cyclones occurred as the result of drowning from large waves or strong rip currents.
Find out more about rip currents on the NWS Rip Current Safety page. Tornadoes
Hurricanes and tropical storms can also produce tornadoes. These tornadoes most often occur in thunderstorms embedded in rain bands well away from the center of the hurricane; however, they can also occur near the eyewall. Usually, tornadoes produced by tropical cyclones are relatively weak and short-lived, but they still pose a significant threat.
Find out more about tornadoes from the NWS Storm Prediction Center.
After the Disaster
After the Disaster
Once the emergency is over, you’ll have to deal with the aftermath of the disaster. The health and safety of you and your family should be your first priority. And if medical attention is needed, now is the time to seek help. Call local responders, travel to a hospital or medical center, or contact the Red Cross to get assistance.
If you’ve evacuated, return home as soon as local government gives the okay – but don’t expect everything to be as it was when you left. Proceed with caution, especially if there were massive storms, flash floods, or other natural disasters – as damage could have occurred that isn’t necessarily visible at first glance.
It’s also important to prepare yourself mentally. Even if everyone is okay and made it through the disaster unscathed, it can feel devastating to return home and see your home and belongings destroyed.
Recovering Your Losses
When a natural disaster or emergency hits, it’s not unusual to experience physical and financial losses. But with proper preparation, you can minimize the impact.
Well before you’re faced with an emergency situation, talk to your home owner’s insurance company about what is covered and what’s not. You may be surprised to learn that the company will cover roof damage, but not flood damage. By knowing what’s covered and what isn’t, you can get extra coverage for the types of disasters that are most common in your area.
Make a written or photographic record of your valuable possessions. From jewelry to appliances to video games, know what things you have of value so that if they’re damaged during a disaster emergency, you can detail your losses. This list will also be of value when dealing with your insurance company and at the end of the year where you can account certain losses as a tax deduction.
When You Need Mental Health or Crisis Intervention
Dealing with a natural disaster or emergency takes its toll on emotions and mental health. Depending on what you’ve seen and had to deal with, you may suffer from depression, anxiety, panic attacks, or even post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). But don’t suffer in silence. Reach out to your family, your doctor, or the Red Cross about seeking mental health assistance.
It’s especially important to watch children for signs of emotional stress, as these types of events can have a massive impact on them and they may not understand what happened or have the ability to verbalize how they feel about it. Even if a child didn’t experience the disaster first hand, it can still be traumatic, so be sure to keep communicating with them. Answer any questions to the best of your ability, and be sure to give them a little extra TLC.
Many communities have specialized CERT teams that are specifically trained in crisis intervention after a devastating event, whether it’s a natural disaster or a man-made calamity.