Flood Safety Measures
The following precautions should be taken before and after a flood event to protect your home and family:
- If your home has sustained flood or water damage, and you can safely get to the main breaker or fuse box, turn off the power.
- Assume all wires on the ground are electrically charged. This includes cable TV feeds.
- Be aware of and avoid downed utility lines. Report downed or damaged power lines to the utility company or emergency services.
- Remove standing water, wet carpets and furnishings. Air dry your home with good ventilation before restoring power.
- Have a licensed electrician check your home for damage.
- Generators are often used during power outages. Unless generators are properly used and maintained, they can be very hazardous. Use a generator or other fuel-powered machines outside the home. Carbon monoxide fumes are odorless and can quickly overwhelm you indoors.
- Shut off the main gas valve to your home. Leaking above ground gas lines, damaged or leaking gas or propane containers, and leaking vehicle gas tanks may explode or ignite.
- Have disaster supplies on hand, including, flashlights and extra batteries, portable, battery-operated radio and extra batteries tuned to a local station, and follow emergency instructions, first aid kit and manual, emergency food and bottled water, non-electric can opener, essential medicines, cash and credit cards, and sturdy shoes.
- Plan and practice an evacuation route.
- Move valuables, such as papers, furs, jewelry, and clothing to upper floors or higher elevations.
- Fill bathtubs, sinks and plastic soda bottles with clean water. Sanitize the sinks and tubs first by using bleach. Rinse, then fill with clean water.
- Bring outdoor possessions, such as lawn furniture, grills and trash cans inside, or tie them down securely.
- Don't drive through a flooded area. If you come upon a flooded road, turn around and go another way. More people drown in their cars than anywhere else.
- If your car stalls, abandon it immediately and climb to higher ground. Many deaths have resulted from attempts to move stalled vehicles.
- Don't walk through flooded areas. As little as six inches of moving water can knock you off your feet.
Flood Protection Measures
There are many things a homeowner may do to protect their home and property from flood damage depending on the flood hazard potential in your area, the characteristics of your property, and the local zoning and building codes. Some methods are fairly simple and inexpensive, while others require the assistance of a professional contractor. Flood protection measures include:
- Retrofitting projects such as elevating buildings and utilities above flood levels, dry floodproofing, wet floodproofing, and protecting basements from sewer backup.
- Grading your property so that storm water runoff is away from the foundation of the house.
- Correcting local drainage problems on your property.
- Emergency measures such as moving furniture and other personal property to upper floors where feasible.
- Constructing barriers such as earthen berms and floodwalls or temporary measures such as sandbagging to create a dam around your house.
- It is important to know the flood risk to your property in order to determine what flood protection measures are appropriate for your situation. Contact the County Engineering Department to check whether or not your property is located in a Special Flood Hazard Area.