JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- Floods, especially flash foods, kill more people each year than any other weather phenomenon. March is Severe Weather Preparedness Month and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) are reminding residents about the dangers of floods. Flooding was widespread in Missouri last year and caused millions of dollars in damage to private property and infrastructure.
Federal Coordinating Officer Tom Hall, director of FEMA disaster operations in Missouri, urges all residents of Missouri to be constantly aware of their environment and any potential for flooding. "There's no doubt that where people are aware of the dangers and power of flooding, they can take measures to lessen the exposure to danger for themselves and family members," Hall said.
If a flood is likely in your area, you should:
- Listen to the radio or television for information.
- Be aware that flash flooding can occur. If there is any possibility of a flash flood, move immediately to higher ground. Do not wait for instructions to move.
- Be aware of streams, drainage channels, canyons, and other areas known to flood suddenly. Flash floods can occur in these areas with or without such typical warnings as rain clouds or heavy rain.
If you must prepare to evacuate, you should do the following:
- Secure your home. If you have time, bring in outdoor furniture. Move essential items to an upper floor.
- Turn off utilities at the main switches or valves if instructed to do so. Disconnect electrical appliances. Do not touch electrical equipment if you are wet or standing in water.
If you have to leave your home, remember these evacuation tips:
- Do not walk through moving water. Six inches of moving water can make you fall. If you have to walk in water, walk where the water is not moving. Use a stick to check the firmness of the ground in front of you.
- Do not drive into flooded areas. If floodwaters rise around your car, abandon the car and move to higher ground if you can do so safely. You and the vehicle can be quickly swept away.
- Six inches of water will reach the bottom of most passenger cars causing loss of control and possible stalling.
- A foot of water will float many vehicles.
- Two feet of rushing water can carry away most vehicles including sport utility vehicles (SUV's) and pick-ups.
About 60 percent of all flood deaths result from people trying to cross flooded roads in vehicles when the moving water sweeps them away.
FEMA provides information about how to protect yourself and your property from flooding. FEMA publications provide helpful information about what to do before, during and after a flood in order to decrease the toll such disasters take on lives and property.
You can order these publications by calling 1-800-480-2520, or you can download or order copies from the FEMA web site at www.fema.gov. Many publications are available in Spanish and other languages.
These resources provide information on topics such as:
- Flood Prep and Safety (F-684). Important tips about how to prepare for a flood.
- Homeowner's Guide to Retrofitting (F-312). Describes six ways to protect a residence from flooding, including information on technical and financial assistance.
- Repairing Your Flooded Home (F-234). Step-by-step guidance for repairing flooded property.
- Why You Need Flood Insurance (F-683), and Your Homeowner's Insurance Doesn't Cover Floods (F-061). Provides information about the Federal Flood Insurance Program, which is the only coverage available for flood damage t...