According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, flooding is the most common natural disaster in the United States. It can happen anywhere and at any time, causing devastation quickly.
In March 2016, many residents in southeastern Texas and parts of Louisiana evacuated their homes and communities to escape extensive flooding. However, some homeowners remained in their homes and were trapped by floodwaters.
The America’s PrepareAthon! How to Prepare for a Flood guide recommends the following steps to protect yourself and your family against being trapped by floodwaters:
· Listen to local weather broadcasts and emergency alerts and, if authorities advise, evacuate before flooding starts.
· However, if floodwaters cover the roadways around you, do not evacuate through floodwaters. Seek higher elevation instead.
If you see floodwater on roads, walkways, bridges, or elsewhere, do not attempt to cross. The depth of the water is not always obvious. Water may be covering a washed out roadbed or other hazards that may prove harmful.
Moving water has tremendous power. Six inches of moving water has the potential to knock an adult off their feet, and as little as one foot of water can sweep a vehicle off the road. Remember: Turn Around, Don’t Drown!
Floodwaters can also contain hazardous materials, including rocks, mud, oil, gasoline, downed power lines, and even sewage. Be especially cautious at night when it is harder to recognize flood dangers.
For more information on floodwater hazards, visit the National Weather Service’s Turn Around Don’t Drown® program.