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Why Preparing for Safety During a Flood is Important

Flash flooding sometimes occurs in just a few minutes. Waters rise quickly and allow little time for action. Flash flooding can happen even where there’s no precipitation falling. Water run-off from other locations will affect rising water levels, and so will melting ice and snow. A non-weather event like a dam breaking could also be responsible for flash flooding. SulCom (The Sullivan Committee, Sullivan, WI) defines a flash flood as one that “…occurs within 6 hours following the end of the causative event.”

Flooding happens longer than 6 hours after the event. Floods are more likely to occur near bodies of water such as rivers and lakes and may last longer than 24 hours.

1. Understand the alert system: There are four different flood alerts issued by NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration): flash flood warning, flood warning, flood watch, and flood advisory.Any Warning means that the event is imminent or already happening. If you are in the warning area, you should respond immediately.

Any Warning means that the event is imminent or already happening. If you are in the warning area, you should respond immediately.

A Watch means be prepared and stay alert because conditions are favorable for the troublesome weather, in this case flooding.

An Advisory means meteorologists forecast a weather event that may result in some “nuisance”situations. Prepare for some inconvenience and make wise decisions to avoid more severe hazards:

2. Have an emergency kit: Flooding may result in power outages, blocked roads, debris, and polluted water. Make sure you have enough food and water to last at least three days for your family and animals. Food should include things that don’t need refrigeration or cooking. Store medicines  in waterproof containers with consumption information clearly marked. Also, keep flashlights, batteries, charged cell phones, radios, and blankets on hand.

3. Have a plan of action: If family members are not together or at home when the flooding occurs, where will you meet or who will you contact to alert that you’re okay or that you’re receiving medical care? The American Red Cross maintains a “Safe and Well” listing where you may report in to let friends and family know you’re safe.

4. Evacuate: If you are on a flood plain or if you are near rising waters, don’t wait for somebody else to evacuate you. Get out when you can. Rising waters and traffic can make travel difficult once an evacuation is ordered. If water is crossing the road, stay out of it.

When the flooding is over, wait for the “all clear” to enter the flood-damaged territory. Remember that flood waters may hold hidden dangers, like debris you may not see; leaked fuel, sewage or other toxins; and downed power lines. Before re-entering your home, make sure the electricity is off.

Being prepared is the first step in staying safe during flooding. If a problem occurs and you require immediate help, simply make use of the Secugo app to notify the authorities and your loved ones.

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