SALT LAKE CITY, Utah(News4Utah) Severe weather is hitting all over the U.S., and that includes right here in Utah. Flash floods have covered the southern part of the state over the last few days. Rich Woodruff from the Utah Red Cross, joined Emily Clark, to talk about what you can do to stay safe right before a flood hits.
Woodruff says, if you do nothing else, at least make an emergency preparedness kit.
Learn about your community’s flood response plan. Also, find out if your community has a flood warning system. Then, create a household plan and practice it.
Purchase a battery-powered or hand-crank radio (NOAA Weather Radio, if possible).
Find out if you are located in a floodplain, which is considered a Special Flood Hazard Area. If so, you are still eligible for flood insurance. Check with your city or country government (start with the Building or Planning Department) to review the Flood Insurance Rate Maps, published by FEMA. Find out if local streams or rivers flood easily.
Keep insurance policies, documents, and other valuables in a safe-deposit box. You may need quick, easy access to these documents. Keep them in a safe place less likely to be damaged during a flood. Take pictures.
Additional Steps to Protect Your Home
It’s important to realize that standard homeowners insurance doesn’t cover flooding, but flood insurance does. Get more information on flood insurance at www.FloodSmart.gov.
Avoid building in a floodplain unless you elevate and reinforce your home. If you do, take precautions to make it less likely your home will be damaged during a flood.
Ensure that any outbuildings, pastures, or corrals are protected in the same way as your home.
If installing or changing fence lines, consider placing them in such a way that your animals are able to move to higher ground in the event of flooding.
Check with your professional to raise your furnace, water heater, and electric panel to higher floors or the attic. This will prevent damage. An undamaged water heater may be your best source of fresh water after a flood.
Install check valves in plumbing to prevent floodwater from backing up into the drains of your home. As a last resort, when floods threaten, use large corks or stoppers to plug showers, tubs, or basins. Construct barriers such as levees, berms, and flood walls to stop floodwater from entering the building. Permission to construct such barriers may be required by local building codes.
Seal walls in basements with waterproofing compounds to avoid seepage through cracks.
Right Before a Flood
Know the difference
- Flood / Flash Flood Watch: A watch means a flood/flash flood is possible in your area.
- Flood / Flash Flood Warning: A warning means flooding/flash flooding is already occurring or will occur soon in your area. Move immediately to higher ground or stay on high ground. Evacuate if directed. Avoid walking or driving through flood waters.
Listen to local area radio, NOAA radio or TV stations for the latest information and updates. Be prepared to evacuate quickly and know your routes and destinations.
Check emergency kits and replenish any items missing or in short supply. Keep it nearby. Fill plastic bottles with clean water for drinking. Water may be contaminated or water service may be interrupted.
Fill bathtubs and sinks with water for flushing the toilet or washing the floor or clothing. Young children should not bathe in water stored in glazed tubs and sinks because over time lead can leach into water from the glaze.
Fill your car’s gas tank, in case an evacuation notice is issued. If electric power is cut off, gas stations may not be able to operate pumps for several days.
Bring outdoor belongings, such as patio furniture, indoors. Unsecured items may be swept away and damaged by floodwater.
Turn off propane tanks. They may be damaged or dislodged by strong winds or water. Turning them off reduces fire potential.
Turn off utilities if told to do so by authorities to prevent damage to your home or within your community. If you shut your gas off, a professional is required to turn it back on.
Unplug small appliances to reduce potential damage. They may be affected by electrical power surges that may occur.
If You Have Pets
Consider a precautionary evacuation of your animals, especially any large or numerous animals. Waiting until the last minute could be fatal for them and dangerous for you. If possible, move livestock to higher ground. If using a horse or other trailer to evacuate your animals, move sooner rather than later. Bring your companion animals indoors and maintain direct control of them. Be sure that your pet emergency kit is ready to go in case of evacuation.