Flood Preparedness & Safety
You should prepare an emergency checklist to address simple steps that can be taken to mitigate the impacts of a flood on your property. These ‘steps' include:
- Shutting off the gas and electricity to any structure that has a history of being flooded.
- Moving valuable contents out of ‘harms way'.
There are also some basic safety tips you should keep in mind during flood conditions, they include:
- Prepare, in advance, a survival kit with bottled water, food, and medical supplies (i.e. prescription medication, basic first-aid items, etc.). Your survival kit should have sufficient stockpiles to last you for a minimum of 72 hours after a storm event.
- Have a battery, or crank handled, emergency weather radio available to listen for news/information on storm events and conditions in the area.
- Do not walk or drive through 'flowing' water or flooded areas. Drowning is the number one cause of flood deaths, mostly during flash floods. Current can be deceptive and remember that 6 inches of moving water can knock you off your feet or impact your car. If you walk in standing water, use a pole of stick to ensure the area is still passable.
- Avoid driving through a flooded area. More people drown in their cars than anywhere else. Do not drive around road barriers as they may signal a bridge or roadway that has been washed out. If you have an emergency please contact the Orange County Sheriff's office or Emergency Services for assistance by dialing 911 before driving.
- Be alert for gas leaks and report them immediately to your utility provider. If you suspect a gas leak remember to always use a flashlight to inspect damage, do not use open flame devises (i.e. match, candles, lanterns, flare, etc.), and remember to extinguish all tobacco products (i.e. cigar, cigarettes, etc.) prior to going into an area where you suspect a gas leak. Also be cautious when inspecting damage in an enclosed space if you suspect a gas leak. Ensure the area is properly ventilated prior to entering.
- Stay away from power and electrical lines. The second highest cause of death resulting from a flood event is electrocution. Electrical current can travel through water. Report downed power lines immediately to your local power company and Orange County Emergency Services. Have your electricity turned off by the utility company in the event of severe damage to your residence. Do not attempt to do so yourself.
- Remember some appliances, such as television sets, keep electrical charges even after they have been unplugged. Do not use appliances or motors that have gotten wet unless they have been taken apart, cleaned, and dried.
- Be on the lookout for animals, especially snakes. Small animals, who have been flooded out of their homes, may seek refuge in yours. Use a pole or a stick to turn things over to check for animals to avoid hurting them or yourself.
- Remember that after a flood the ground, and possibly floors of your residence, are covered with debris which can include broken bottles, glass, nails, and other similar hazards. Floors and stairs can also be very slippery. Walk in areas that have been inundated by flood waters with care to avoid injury.