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IN AN EMERGENCY: FLOOD

Before a Flood

If you know your home or business is at risk of being flooded view techniques that may help you in sandbagging your property

During a Flood

  • Be prepared to evacuate.
  • Be aware that flash flooding can occur and that you should immediately move to higher ground.
  • Tune to your local radio and television stations for emergency information, traffic updates and instructions.
  • Fill bathtubs, sinks, and jugs with clean water in case water becomes contaminated.
  • Bring outdoor belongings, such as patio furniture, indoors.
  • Move valuable household possessions to the upper floors or to safe ground if time permits.
  • If you must evacuate, turn off utilities at the main switches or valves. Disconnect electrical appliances. Do not touch electrical equipment if you are wet or standing in water.
  • If advised to evacuate, do so immediately. Evacuation is easier and safer before floodwaters become too deep.
  • If local authorities instruct you to do so, turn off all utilities at the main power switch and close the main gas valve.
  • Do not walk through moving water. Six inches of moving water can make you fall. If you have to walk in water, walk where the water is not moving. Use a stick to check the firmness of the ground in front of you and to aid in balance.
  • Do not drive into flooded areas. If floodwaters rise around your car, abandon the car and move to higher ground. You and the vehicle can be quickly swept away. A foot of water will float many vehicles. Two feet of rushing water can carry away most vehicles including SUVs and pick-ups.
  • If the waters start to rise inside your house before you have evacuated, retreat to the second floor, the attic, and if necessary, the roof.
  • If Outdoors:
    • Climb to high ground and stay there.
    • Avoid walking through any floodwaters. If it is moving swiftly, even water 6 inches deep can sweep you off your feet.

During an Evacuation

  • If advised to evacuate, do so immediately.
  • Evacuation is much simpler and safer before flood waters become too deep for ordinary vehicles to drive through.
  • Listen to a battery-operated radio (which can be a car radio) for evacuation instructions.
  • Follow recommended evacuation routes -- shortcuts may be blocked.
  • Leave early enough to avoid being marooned by flooded roads.

After a Flood

  • Listen for news reports on whether the community‚Äôs water supply is safe to drink.
  • Avoid floodwaters; water may be contaminated by oil, gasoline, or raw sewage. Water may also be electrically charged from underground or downed power lines.
  • Keep your hands clean.
  • Avoid moving water.
  • Be aware of areas where floodwaters have receded. Roads may have weakened and could collapse under the weight of a car.
  • Stay away from downed power lines, and report them to the power company.
  • Return home only when authorities indicate it is safe. Check the structural integrity of the building.
  • Make sure your natural gas lines are intact. Have an electrician check your home.
  • Never try to walk, swim, drive or play in floodwater.
  • Stay out of any building that is surrounded by floodwaters. Use extreme caution when entering buildings; there may be hidden damage, particularly in foundations.
  • Service damaged septic tanks, cesspools, pits, and leaching systems as soon as possible. Damaged sewage systems are serious health hazards.
  • Clean and disinfect everything that got wet. Mud left from flood water can contain sewage and chemicals.
  • Do not drink tab water unless boiled and treated.

When Entering Buildings, Use Extreme Caution.

  • Wear sturdy shoes and use battery-powered lanterns or flashlights when examining buildings.
  • Examine walls, floors, doors, and windows to make sure that the building is not in danger of collapsing.
  • Watch out for animals, especially poisonous snakes, that may have come into your home with the flood waters. Use a stick to poke through debris.
  • Watch for loose plaster and ceilings that could fall.
  • Take pictures of the damage -- both to the house and its contents for insurance claims.

*Information provided by the Santa Clara Valley Water Disrict and others.