Are You Ready for a Flood?

Prepare for Floods
Most cars can be swept away by less than two feet of moving water

Floods are among the most common and costly natural disasters—and they can happen anywhere. During Flood Safety Awareness Week, March 18-22, arm yourself with these preparedness tips so you’ll be ready if flooding occurs in your area.

Know Your Terms

When flooding is predicted for your area, you may hear weather forecasters use these terms:

  • Flood/Flash Flood Watch—Flooding or flash flooding is possible in your area.
  • Flood/Flash Flood Warning—Flooding or flash flooding is already occurring or will occur soon in your area.
  • Have Supplies Ready

    You’ll be better prepared for any disaster, including a flood, if you have some emergency items on hand and ready to go in case you need to evacuate your home.

    Essential items include:

  • Water—at least a 3-day supply; one gallon per person per day
  • Food—at least a 3-day supply of non-perishable, easy-to-prepare food
  • Flashlight
  • Battery-powered or hand-crank radio (NOAA Weather Radio, if possible)
  • Medications (7-day supply) and medical items (hearing aids with extra batteries, glasses, contact lenses, syringes, cane)
  • You can find a full list of emergency supplies on redcross.org.

    Respond During a Flood

    Listen to area radio and television stations and a NOAA Weather Radio for possible flood warnings and reports of flooding in progress or other critical information from the National Weather Service (NWS).

    Be prepared to evacuate at a moment’s notice. When a flood or flash flood warning is issued for your area, head for higher ground and stay there.

    Critical Safety Tips

  • Stay away from floodwaters. If you come upon a flowing stream where water is above your ankles, stop, turn around and go another way. Six inches of swiftly moving water can sweep you off of your feet.
  • If you come upon a flooded road while driving, turn around and go another way. If you are caught on a flooded road and waters are rising rapidly around you, get out of the car quickly and move to higher ground. Most cars can be swept away by less than two feet of moving water.
  • Keep children out of the water. They are curious and often lack judgment about running water or contaminated water. Keep your pets out of the water too.
  • Be especially cautious at night when it is harder to recognize flood danger.
  • Because standard homeowners insurance doesn’t cover flooding, it’s important to have protection from the floods associated with hurricanes, tropical storms, heavy rains and other conditions that impact the U.S. For more information on flood insurance, please visit the National Flood Insurance Program website at www.FloodSmart.gov.

    Test your flood safety knowledge by taking our short quiz.

    About the American Red Cross:
    The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.

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