Emergency Management

Flood Preparedness and Response
Posted By Sheri Badger on Nov 14th, 2001 at 3:52 AM

Tacoma, WA – November 14, 2001 – Flood Preparedness & Response If you know that you live in a flood-prone area, taking a little time today to prepare can increase your safety and help minimize your losses during a flood. Steps to Take Today Learn the safest route from your home or business to high, safe ground. Be aware of low-lying areas which flood early and block your evacuation. If you are a rancher, make plans for moving livestock to a higher area also. Keep on hand the following items: A portable radio, flashlights, fresh batteries, containers with clean drinking water, first aid kit, warm clothing, non-perishable foods. Remember that during a flood, electric power and other utilities will probably be interrupted. You should also plan for your pet’s needs. Additional items which may help you protect your property include plastic sheeting, sandbags and plywood sheets. Sandbags may not be available during the flood. Store valuables in higher areas such as the second floor. If possible, store hazardous material above the anticipated flood level. Prepare a complete list of personal property. Photographs or a video of your house, inside and out, can help with insurance claims or uninsured loss tax deductions after a flood. Photographs should be stored in a safe place such as a safe deposit box or with your insurance company. Consider purchasing flood insurance. Most home insurance policies do not cover flood losses. Check with your insurance agent. When a Flood Comes Keep your radio tuned to a local station for up-to-date weather and flood warning information. If you have a weather radio, tune to NOAA at 162.4, 162.475 or 162- 55 megahertz (MHz). If you are outside, remember… FLOODS ARE DECEPTIVE. Avoid flooded areas and do not try to walk through floodwaters that are more than knee deep. If driving, DO NOT drive over a flooded road – Almost all drownings during a flood occur within a car or truck. DO NOT drive around road barricades that have been placed by city or county officials. If you are caught in the house, move to the upper story, then to the roof if necessary. Wait for assistance. Take your radio, flashlights and other emergency supplies – DO NOT attempt to swim to safety. If, and Only If, Time Permits Turn off all utilities, including power and gas. Do not touch any electrical equipment unless it is in a dry area. Move valuables and toxic materials to a higher location, such as an attic or upper level. Fill bathtubs and sinks with clean water in case regular supplies are contaminated. Place sandbags around the perimeter of your house – Remember that sandbags should not be stacked against the house. After a Flood Do not use fresh food, water or medicines which have come into contact with contaminated flood waters. Untreated tap water should not be used for drinking until local officials declare the supply to be safe. Before entering your house, check for structural damage that could cause collapse. Make sure both the gas and electricity are turned off. Ventilate the house well if there is a possibility of a gas leak. If the waterline inside the house is higher than any electrical outlets, the electricity should not be turned on until all wiring has been checked by a qualified person. Dry your house slowly but thoroughly. Carpets and drywall may need to be removed. Flooded basements should be pumped out slowly to avoid structural damage. After the flood waters around your house have receded, pump out about one third of the water in the basement per day. Wooden furniture should not be placed in direct sunshine to dry, or it may warp. Document your losses. Some financial assistance may be available from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The local news media will tell you where to apply if Federal assistance is available. Emergency Contacts Call 911 only in a life threatening situation. For localized flooding associated with a public road, contact your local public works department. If you live in unincorporated Pierce County, contact the Pierce County Public Works maintenance shop for your area. For other assistance during floods, your local fire department may be able to assist. During periods of flooding or threat of flooding, the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), has a weather and flood advisory recording which can be reached at (206) 526- 6087.