Over 30,000 people are without power, homes are leaking, and our phones just won't stop ringing. Here are some tips from John's Waterproofing and ready.gov to help keep your family and home safe during the floods.
Silverton, OR - December 9, 2015
Well, the weather outside is certainly frightful. There are numerous flood warnings for much of Oregon west of the Cascade Mountains. Our phones have been ringing non-stop with complaints of flooded basements. Turn on any news station and you can see images of rampant flooding, road closures, landslides and general mayhem. Here are some tips from the national emergency preparedness website ready.gov and us here at John's Waterproofing Company:
FOREMOST: AVOID DRIVING IN HIGH WATER AREAS
Most flood deaths occur in automobiles. Never drive your vehicle into areas where the water covers the roadway. Flood waters are usually deeper than they appear. Just one foot of flowing water is powerful enough to sweep vehicles off the road. When encountering flooded roads make the smart choice, turn around, don’t drown.
Before flooding hits YOUR home:
Know your flood risk and have an emergency plan. Are you near creeks or rivers that have a history of flooding over? Are you in a flood zone? If so, you may want to consider flood insurance and items such as flood vents to ensure your home is protected in the event of a flood.
Have an emergency kit (ensure it has a flashlight, batteries, cash and other first aid supplies in it) and a family evacuation and communication plans. With so many areas now flooded, there is a risk that your child could get stranded at school or at some extra-curricular activity. Do you have a plan in place? If you have to reach high ground quickly on foot where can you go?
Ensure your furnace, water heater, and electrical items are elevated if your home is in a flood risk area.
Move valuables and essential items upstairs (or out of the home if you are in a single story) if you are able, to protect them from water damage.
If it is possible to place sandbags around your home in attempts to slow or stop floodwater from entering the building, do so.
Waterproof your basement or crawlspace so it is equipped to handle high flood waters and water intrusion preventatively. If you have a sump pump or some type of drainage system in place. Ensure it has batteries and has been serviced within the year. Route downspouts away from your home and check to make sure that debris is not clogging your gutters.
During active flooding:
With any flooding there is the risk of flash flooding, landslides and structural damage to your home or surrounding buildings. If there are any risks or possibility of flash flooding move immediately to higher ground.
If you have to evacuate, ensure utilities are shut off at the main switches or valves if instructed to do so. Disconnect electrical appliances. DO NOT TOUCH ELECTRICAL EQUIPMENT IF YOU ARE WET OR STANDING IN WATER!
If you are evacuating to not walk or drive through moving water (six inches of moving water is enough pressure to knock you off your feet) walk where water is not moving. Use a stick of some type to check the firmness of the ground in front of you.
DO NOT DRIVE INTO FLOODED AREAS. If flood water rises around your car, abandon it and move quickly to higher ground if you can do so safely. You are and your vehicle can be swept away quickly.
The phone application GEONEWS will provide you with weather updates and alerts and allows for you to message family and friends that you are okay or in the event that you need help and it will send them your coordinates. FEMA also offers a mobile app with these alerts, disaster tips, and prevention strategies.
After a Flood
Only return home when authorities say it is safe to do so. Watch out for debris and eroded roadways or walkways.
Do not attempt to drive through areas still flooded.
Avoid standing water as it may be electrically charged from underground or downed power lines.
Photograph damage to your property and belongings for insurance purposes.
Find a reputable Disaster Restoration company. They can assist you in the clean-up process and in pumping water out of your home. If you were a victim of water damage, get your home prepared for the next major water event by getting your basement and crawlspace waterproofed. Don’t let it happen again!
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