The Western Washington landscape is framed by the beauty of our natural water resources. However, when conditions are right, these water resources can turn into flooding hazards to our homes and property.
Combinations of heavy rain, melting snow, or other severe storm threats can make floodplain living dangerous. Floodplain residents need to be aware of the risks posed to their community and incorporate these risks into their preparedness plans.
Additionally, urban residents should be aware of hazards posed by urban flooding along city streets, including transportation problems and impacts to residential or business establishments.
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What to do to prepare for a flood:
- Learn the safest route from your home or business to high ground.
- Make arrangements for housing in the event you need to evacuate your home.
- Teach all family members how, where and when to turn off utilities.
- Plan for a meeting place outside of the hazard area.
- If it has been raining hard for several hours, or raining steadily for several days, be alert to the possibility of a flood.
- Consider purchasing one or more pumps to use to remove water in and around your home during heavy rains or flooding.
- Prepare for “severe storms” and “power outages” which often accompany floods.
- Review your flood insurance policies for structure and contents coverage. Don’t have insurance? Contact your insurance representative or visit www.floodsmart.gov.
What to do during a flood:
- Monitor your NOAA weather radio and keep a local radio and/or television on for information and emergency instructions.
- Have your survival kit ready to go if told to evacuate.
- If told to evacuate, do so as soon as possible. Delay or refusal to evacuate can jeopardize your safety, the safety of emergency responders, and hinder rescue efforts.
- Move your furniture and valuables to higher levels in your home if you have time.
- Move yourself to higher ground away from rivers, streams, creeks and storm drains.
- Do not drive around barricades, they are there for your safety.
- Never drive through a flooded area. Cars can be carried away by just two feet of water.
- Don’t walk or wade through flood waters. You can be knocked off your feet by as little as six inches of moving water.
What to do after a flood:
- Do not turn electricity back on if you smell gas or if the electric system has been flooded.
- Wear sturdy work boots and gloves.
- Do not handle electrical equipment in wet areas.
- Use flashlights (not lanterns, candles or matches) to check buildings containing natural gas, propane or gasoline.
- Follow directions from local officials regarding the safety of drinking water.
- Clean and disinfect everything that was touched by flood waters and throw out any affected food.