Written by Petty Officer 2nd Class Connie Terrell
Being prepared to act quickly could be a matter of survival. This is especially evident during the threat of severe weather.
Floods are one of the most common hazards in the United States, however not all floods are alike. Some floods develop slowly, while others such as flash floods, can develop in just a few minutes and without visible signs of rain. Floods can be local, impacting a neighborhood or community, or very large, affecting entire river basins and multiple states.
Even if you live in a community with a low risk of flooding, remember that anywhere it rains, it can flood.
And rain isn’t the only cause of flooding. Flooding can be caused from tropical storms and hurricanes, spring thaws, levees and dams being overtopped or breached and new construction that changes the natural drainage.
To ensure you and your family are ready, create a family communications plan, put an emergency kit together, keep important papers and valuables in a safe place, and learning about Wireless Emergency Alerts.
The following are important points to remember when driving in flood conditions:
• Six inches of water will reach the bottom of most passenger cars causing loss of control and possible stalling.
• A foot of water will float many vehicles
• Two feet of rushing water can carry away most vehicles including sport utility vehicles (SUV’s) and pick-ups.
• Do not attempt to drive through a flooded road. The depth of water is not always obvious. The road bed may be washed out under the water, and you could be stranded or trapped.
• Do not drive around a barricade. Barricades are there for your protection. Turn around and go the other way.
• Do not try to take short cuts. They may be blocked. Stick to designated evacuation routes.
• Be especially cautious driving at night when it is harder to recognize flood dangers.
The American Red Cross is an invaluable resource for disaster recovery and assistance. Red Cross volunteers provide first aid, hot meals, shelter, financial assistance, basic household items and education on disease prevention. They also maintain an online registry of lost, separated and injured survivor names to assist in the search for loved ones after a major disaster occurs. Keep the address and phone number to your local chapter and other local organizations with important documents in your emergency kit.
The Red Cross also has mobile apps available for emergency first aid, shelter, and recovery assistance during floods, earthquakes, wildfires, tornadoes, and hurricanes.
The Coast Guard does their part to stay Always Ready and encourages everyone to be prepared for a disaster to strike. If as many people are prepared as possible, emergency services can focus on the true life and death situations as they arise so that everyone can get out safe and sound.