Early flood and hurricane warnings provide time for people in threatened areas to prepare, and by doing so, to lessen their damages.
Before the storm threatens
- Inventory your property. A complete inventory of personal property will help obtain insurance settlements and/or tax deductions for losses. Inventory checklists can be obtained from your insurance representative. Be sure to take pictures and list descriptions. Store these and other important insurance papers in waterproof containers or in your safety deposit box.
- Review your insurance policies and coverage to avoid misunderstanding later. Take advantage of flood insurance. Separate policies are needed for protection against wind and flood damage, which people frequently don’t realize until too late.
In addition, you will be better prepared if you do the following:
- Listen to local radio/television stations for forecasts and emergency instructions. Post their dial/channel numbers for easy access.
- Learn your children’s school and/or day care center emergency plans.
- Decide on an alternate location to meet if an emergency happens while your family is away from home and cannot return.
- Know the location of the shelter nearest your home.
- Post all emergency plans/phone numbers in a prominent place (both at home and at work).
- Learn your community’s evacuation routes as you may be forced to leave your home. This is especially important in low-lying areas where flooding can make roads impassable.
- Prepare First Aid Kit
- Learn first aid. Professional medical assistance may not be available.
When a watch is issued:
- Listen to storm reports on radio and television.
- If considering moving to a shelter, make arrangements for all pets. Pets are not allowed in shelters.
- Refill needed prescriptions.
- If evacuation has not already been recommended, consider leaving the area early to avoid long hours on limited evacuation routes.
- Check battery-powered equipment. It will be needed if utility services are interrupted.
- Keep your car fueled should evacuation be necessary. Service stations may be closed after the storm strikes.
When a warning is issued:
- Keep your car fueled.
- Listen to local radio/television broadcasts for emergency instructions and the latest information.
- Follow the instructions and advice of your local governments. If you are advised to evacuate, do so promptly.
- Keep phone lines open to notify local authorities of occurring events such as fires, flash floods, tornado sightings, injuries or damage. Do not use the telephone to obtain emergency information.
If, and only if, time permits . . . there are several things you should do:
- Turn off all utilities at the main power switch and close the main gas valve if evacuation appears necessary. Do not touch any electrical equipment unless it is in a dry area, or you are standing on a piece of dry wood while wearing rubber-soled shoes or boots and rubber gloves .
- Move valuable papers, jewelry, clothing, etc. to upper floors or higher areas.
- Fill bathtubs, sinks, and jugs with clean water in case regular supplies are contaminated (sanitize these items by first rinsing with bleach).
- Board up windows or protect them with storm shutters or tape (to prevent flying glass).
- Bring outdoor items (i.e. lawn furniture, trash cans, tools, signs, etc.) inside the house or tie them down securely.
If you’re caught in the house by suddenly rising waters, move to the second floor and, if necessart, to the roof.
If it is safe to evacuate by car, you should consider the following:
- Stock the car with nonperishable foods, a plastic container of water, blankets, first aid kit, flashlights, dry clothing and any special medication needed by your family.
- Do not drive where water is over the road. Parts of the road may already be washed out.
- If you car stalls in a flooded area, abandon it as soon as possible. Floodwaters can rise rapidly and sweep a car (and its occupants) away.
- When outside the house, remember . . . floods are deceptive. Try to avoid flooded areas, and don’t attempt to walk across stretches of flood waters that are more than knee deep.
If you go to a shelter:
- Take blankets or sleeping bags, flashlights, special foods, infant needs and lightweight folding chairs.
- Register every person arriving with you at the shelter.
- Do not take pets, alcoholic beverages or weapons of any kind to shelters.
- Be prepared to offer assistance to shelter workers if necessary, and stress to all family members their obligations to keep the shelter clean and sanitary.
Carry along survival supplies:
- First Aid Kit
- Canned/dried food, can opener, spoons, etc.
- Bottled water
- Extra family medication, prescriptions
- Spare eyeglasses, hearing aid and batteries.
Keep important papers with you at all times:
- Driver’s License and other identification
- Insurance policies
- Property inventory
- Medic-alert or special medical info
- Maps to your destination.
Take warm, protective clothing.
Once in a shelter or safer area, stay there until local authorities tell you it is safe to return home.