If you are at home when the floodwaters arrive, do not panic; here are specific guidelines to help you deal with the watery deluge:
1. If the power has not been knocked out, turn the TV on and monitor the situation through your local news channel. Your radio is also your best friend when it comes to receiving updates from a local flood watch.
2. Has there been an announcement of a possible flash flood? If the answer is yes, seek higher ground immediately. If you have a second floor or third flood, just go upstairs after securing the first floor. Do not stay in the first floor if a flash flood is imminent!
3. In the event that flooding is imminent and you still have time, move all your patio furniture inside the house. If your house has a second or third floor, move electronic gadgets, large appliances, and other essentials upstairs.
Do this only if you have sufficient time; if not, simply elevate these items on tables, chairs, and even your kitchen counters. You can always fix your first floor after the flood. The important thing here is you will be keeping most of your expensive personal possessions safe during the flood, while you seek higher ground for yourself.
4. Water and electricity should be turned off in the event of a flood. Unplug all of your electrical appliances, including small items such as radios and fans. In the event that some of your appliances have become submerged in floodwater, and you were unable to unplug them, do not touch them while they are still submerged in water.
5. It is actually dangerous to walk through moving floodwaters, so if you have to do it, make sure that the water is no more than five inches deep. Six inches of moving floodwater (with mud and debris) is enough to topple even fit people.
If the water is deep and you have to cross to be able to evacuate or get to your car, find a path across the floodwater that has less intense movement to ensure your safety.
6. If there are emergency services in your area, you can help the emergency personnel by keeping your family safe, and by keeping the area clear, so they can move around your neighborhood more easily.
7. After evacuating, you should only return to your home once it has been announced that the water has dissipated, and it is safe to return to your neighborhood. If no such announcements have been made, stay in the designated safe zone / evacuation zone until the authorities give you and everyone else an all-clear signal.
8. In the event that your car or SUV suddenly stalls as you are driving away from your flooded house, leave your car and seek higher ground on foot you will have a better chance of getting help if you walk instead of trying to restart a wet and stalled vehicle. Remember: six to twelve inches of floodwater is enough to stall and float most vehicles. So, it does not matter if you have a big SUV – water can still stall it.
9. During a flood, you will often find random spots where water has already receded. These spots are not necessarily safe to drive on or walk on because receded water often signals soft and weakened soil. Driving through such areas may be dangerous.
10. Beware of electrically charged floodwater. Electrical wires run underground and some wires may cause floodwater to become electrically charged.
11. Minimize or avoid submerging any part of your body in floodwater. Floodwater contains not only soil particles (ie mud) but also chemicals (such as gasoline) and in some instances, sewage. Sewage contamination is common – you do not want to experience wading through sewage-tinged floodwater, trust me.
12. If your septic tank or plumbing system have been damaged by flooding, have these serviced soon after the flood.
13. Turn on the power only once you have deemed the house dry enough. If you turn on the power immediately after the flood, someone might get accidentally electrocuted.