Safety Steps: Flooding Possible in Pacific Northwest
January 11, 2021
Parts of the Pacific Northwest are facing several days of heavy rain and the possibility of flooding. Several counties in Washington are already under flood watches. The American Red Cross is monitoring the situation and has safety steps people in the affected areas should follow.
Check your emergency kit and replenish any items missing or in short supply, especially medications or other medical supplies. Keep it nearby.
Fill plastic bottles with clean water for drinking.
Fill bathtubs and sinks with water for flushing the toilet or washing the floor or clothing.
Fill your car's gas tank in case you need to evacuate.
Bring outdoor belongings, such as patio furniture, indoors.
STAY SAFE OUTDOORS
Don't walk, swim or drive through floodwater. Just six inches of fast-flowing water can knock you over and two feet will float a car.
If caught on a flooded road with rapidly rising waters, get out of the car quickly and move to higher ground.
Don't walk on beaches or riverbanks.
Don’t allow children to play in or near flood water.
Avoid contact with floodwater. It may be contaminated with sewage or contain dangerous insects or animals.
Stay out of areas subject to flooding. Underpasses, dips, low spots, canyons, washes, etc. can become filled with water.
AFTER A FLOOD
Wear protective clothing, including rubber gloves and rubber boots, and be cautious when cleaning up.
Throw out items that absorb water and cannot be cleaned or disinfected. This includes mattresses, carpeting, cosmetics, stuffed animals and baby toys.
Discard all food, beverages and medicine exposed to floodwaters and mud. When in doubt, throw it out.
Check the outside of your home before you enter. Look for loose power lines, broken or damaged gas lines, foundation cracks, missing support beams and other damage. If the door is jammed, don’t force it open — it may be providing support to the rest of your home. Find another way to get inside.
If you smell gas or hear a hissing noise, leave the property immediately and get far away from it. Call the fire department after you reach safety.
If the weather is dry, open windows and doors to ventilate or dry your home.
If power is out, use a flashlight. Don’t use candles or any open flame for lighting.
Download the free Red Cross Emergency App for real-time weather alerts, open shelters and expert advice on floods. The Emergency App includes an “I’m Safe” feature that helps people check on loved ones. Search “American Red Cross” in app stores, or go to redcross.org/apps.
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides comfort to victims of disasters; supplies about 40% of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; distributes international humanitarian aid; and supports veterans, military members and their families. The Red Cross is a nonprofit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to deliver its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.