Stay Safe During Floods
The New Hampshire/Vermont Region of the American Red Cross is preparing for an increased chance of flooding that could impact the region over the next several days. Minor river flooding is likely and moderate river flooding is possible, according to the NH State Department of Safety. The Red Cross is mobilizing to prepare for possible services that may be needed.
Rain is expected through Monday and significant river rises are expected due to snowmelt from recent warmth and runoff from rainfall. Spring weather poses unique challenges to people faced with potential flooding of roads and property. The American Red Cross suggests the following steps to take to stay safe if you are in the path of potential river flooding.
How to Prepare for Floods
Learn about your community’s flood response plan. Also find out if your community has a flood warning system.
Create a household plan and practice it.
Realize that standard homeowners’ insurance doesn’t cover flooding but flood insurance does. Get more information on flood insurance at www.FloodSmart.gov .
Right Before a Flood
Know the difference between a watch and warning. A watch means that a flood or flash flood is possible in your area, while a warning means that flooding/flash flooding is already occurring or will occur soon in your area.
Listen to local area radio, NOAA radio or TV stations for the latest information and updates.
Be prepared to evacuate quickly if directed and know your routes and destinations.
Check emergency kit and replenish any items missing or in short supply. Keep it nearby.
During a Flood
Move immediately to higher ground or stay on high ground. Evacuate if directed. Avoid walking or driving through flood waters.
Turn off the power and water mains if instructed to do so by local authorities.
Boil tap water until supplies have been declared safe.
Avoid contact with floodwater. It may be contaminated with sewage.
Continue listening to local area radio, NOAA radio or TV stations for the latest information and updates.
Don’t use gas or electrical appliances that have been flooded until after they have been checked for safety.
Dispose of any food that has come into contact with flood water.
Avoid already flooded areas and areas that are subject to sudden flooding such as dips, low spots, canyons, washes etc. Stay away from rivers, streams, creeks, and storm drains.
The National Weather Service reports that nearly half of all flood fatalities are vehicle-related. Do not attempt to cross flowing streams or water-covered roads.
If caught in a flash flood, try to get to higher ground and stay there. Just six inches of fast-flowing water can knock you over and two feet will float a car.
Turn around and find another route if you come upon floodwater, rapidly rising water or barricades. Barricades are put up by local officials to protect people from unsafe roads. Driving around them will put you and your vehicle’s occupants at serious risk.
Don’t allow children to play in or near flood water. It may be contaminated with sewage.
After a Flood
If evacuated, return only when authorities say it is safe to do so. Continue listening to local news or a NOAA Weather Radio for updated information and instructions.
Returning Home Safely
Follow these tips for inspecting your home’s structure and utilities & systems after a flood. Beware of snakes, insects and other animals that may be in or around your home.
If power lines are down outside your home, do not step in puddles or standing water. Report them immediately to the power company. If any gas or electrical appliances were flooded, don’t use them until they have been checked for safety.
Dispose of any food that has come into contact with flood water. Do not use water that could be contaminated to wash dishes, brush teeth, prepare food, wash hands, make ice or make baby formula.
Caring for Yourself & Loved Ones
Pay attention to how you and your loved ones are experiencing and handling stress. Promote emotional recovery by following these tips.
Help people who require assistance—infants, elderly people, those without transportation, large families who may need additional help in an emergency situation, people with disabilities, and the people who care for them.