Flood Safety and You: Do you know what to do during a flood?

Maryland National Guard Soldiers from units across the state worked around the clock to provide critical support to civilian law enforcement and firefighting agencies in Salisbury, Md. during Hurricane Irene. National Guard, Hurricane Irene, Floods, Emergency Response
Spring is just around the corner

…and that means heavy rains for many parts of the United States. Flash floods affect every state in the union and claim an average of 99 American lives per year.

Staying safe during a flood isn’t rocket science, but these tips can keep you and your family safe and sound during flood season:

North Dakota flood response, National Guard, Emergency Response, Flood RescueBe Wary of Running Water

Drowning is the number one cause of flood-related deaths. Only six inches of water is enough to knock you off your feet. Before you attempt to cross any size body of water, make sure it’s not moving with a stick or pole.

Don’t Drive Through Flooded Areas

During a flood, more people drown in their cars than anywhere else. A vehicle can easily be swept downstream by strong currents, so steer clear! Even still water can be deeper than it looks. Be especially careful driving on flooded streets or washed out roads.

Electricity Kills

Water carries deadly electrical current very well. Be sure to watch for downed power lines and contact your local utility company if you spot anything dangerous. Also be wary of electronics in your home. Appliances like TVs can shock you, even when they are unplugged. Be sure your electronics are completely dried before turning them on.

Senior Airman William Killett of the Louisiana Air National Guard's 159th Civil Engineering Squadron, comforts a dog rescued from the rooftop of a flooded home in the town of Braithwaite, La., Aug. 30, 2012. More than 8,000 Louisiana Guardsmen are currently activated in support of Hurricane Isaac. (U.S. Air Force photo by MSgt Dan Farrell, 159th Fighter Wing, LA ANG/RELEASED), National Guard, Hurricane Irene, Emergency Animal RescueLook Out for Animals

Small critters may be displaced by flood waters too. Make sure they haven’t made themselves a new home in your house! Be especially careful of snakes during wet weather. Use a stick to overturn items that animals may be hiding under.

Watch Your Step

Flooding can displace lots of litter and other materials. Look out for dangerous things like nails or glass when walking after a flood.

Be Cautious of Gas Leaks and Exhaust

Use a flashlight to make sure the gas is turned off before smoking or using candles and open flames. Always use generators and cooking stoves in well-ventilated outdoor areas to prevent the build-up of deadly carbon monoxide.

Clean Everything

Floodwater may have come in contact with raw sewage and chemicals, as well as bacteria and other hazards. Be sure to thoroughly wash anything that has come in contact with floodwater and never trust food or medicine that has gotten wet!


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