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How to Survive Flooding

Flooding and Flash Floods are a very real danger in Arizona. Every year, people are injured. Some people lose their lives because they are taken off guard by storms or rushing floodwaters.



Protect Your Family

There are some tips you can learn before the next storm. These tips will help to keep you and your family safe from flash floods:
  1. Do not build in a floodplain unless you elevate and reinforce your home.

  2. Elevate the furnace, water heater, and electric panel if susceptible to flooding.

  3. Install "check valves" in sewer traps to prevent floodwater from drain back-ups.

  4. Construct barriers (levees, beams, floodwalls) to stop floodwater from entering the building.

  5. Seal walls in basements with waterproofing compounds to avoid seepage.

During a Flood

Flash floods can occur in Arizona with no rain in sight. A storm that's miles away can produce rushing water that can take you by surprise.
  1. Listen to the radio or television for information.

  2. Know flash flooding can occur. If there is any possibility of a flash flood, move to higher ground right away. Do not wait for instructions to move.

  3. Be aware of streams, dry riverbeds, drainage channels, canyons and other areas known to flood suddenly. Flash floods can occur in these areas with or without typical warnings like rain clouds or heavy rain.

  4. If you must prepare to leave, you should do the following:

  5. Secure your home. If you have time, bring in outdoor furniture. Move essential items to an upper floor.

  6. Turn off utilities at the main switches or valves if asked to do so. Disconnect electrical appliances. Do not touch electrical equipment if you are wet or standing in water.

  7. If You Have to Leave
          - Do not walk through moving water, it is deceptively strong.
            Choose a route with still water if at all possible.
          - Use a stick to check the firmness of the ground in front of you.

After a Flood

After a flood happens is when a lot of injuries take place. These tips will help to keep you and your family safe from the aftermath of a flood:
  1. Stay away from power lines and electrical wires. The number two flood killer after drowning is electrocution. Electrical current can travel through water. Report downed power lines to the power company or the County Sheriff's office.

  2. Have your electricity turned off by the power company. Some appliances, such as television sets, keep electrical charges even after they have been unplugged. Don't use appliances or motors that have gotten wet unless they have been taken apart, cleaned, and dried.

  3. Look out for animals, especially snakes. Small animals that have been flooded out of their homes may seek shelter in yours, or in debris left on your property. Use a pole or stick to poke and turn things over and scare away small animals.

  4. Look before you step. After a flood, the ground and floors are covered with debris including broken bottles and nails. Floors and stairs that have been covered with mud can be very slippery.

  5. Be alert for gas leaks. Use a flashlight to inspect for damage. Don't smoke or use candles, lanterns, or open flames unless you know the gas has been turned off and the area has been ventilated.

  6. Wait before entering a structure damaged by flooding. Structures that have been damaged by flooding may not be safe to enter. Wait for the building to be inspected before entering. If the structure is deemed unsafe, arrangements will be made for you to be able to retrieve valuables left behind.

If You Are in a Moving Vehicle

  1. Do not drive into flooded areas.

  2. If floodwaters rise around your car, abandon it. Move to higher ground safely.

  3. Know that 6 inches of water will reach the bottom of most passenger cars causing loss of control and possible stalling.

  4. Know that most vehicles begin to float in just 12 inches of water. 24 inches of water will sweep most vehicles (including SUVs and pick-ups) away.

For more information on thunderstorm preparedness, check "Are You Ready?" from FEMA

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