Columbia, Mo. -- Floods, especially flash floods, kill more people each year than any other weather phenomenon. Disaster officials are reminding Missouri residents about the danger of floods and they urge residents to stay abreast of weather warnings by monitoring local media or listening to a NOAA weather radio.
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Federal Coordinating Officer Libby Turner urges residents to be constantly aware of their environment and any potential for flooding. "There's no doubt that when 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," Turner said.
About 60 percent of all flood deaths result from people trying to cross flooded roads in vehicles when the moving water sweeps them away.
If a flood is likely in your area, you should:
- Listen to your radio or television for information.
- Be aware that flash flooding can occur. If there is any possibility of a flash flood that could affect you, 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. Unplug electrical appliances. Do not touch electrical equipment if you are wet or standing in water.
If you must 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 in areas where the water is not moving. Use a pole or stick to make sure the ground continues 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 your 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 (SUVs) and pick-ups.
FEMA provides information about how to protect yourself and your property from flooding. The agency's publications provide helpful information about what to do before, during and after a flood in order to decrease the toll such disasters take on life and property.
FEMA's mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.
Disaster recovery assistance is available without regard to race, color, religion, nationality, sex, age, disability, English proficiency or economic status. If you or someone you know has been discriminated against, call FEMA toll-free at 1-800-621-FEMA (3362). Those with a speech disability or hearing loss who use a TTY call 1-800-462-7585; or use 711 or Video Relay Service (VRS) to call 1-800-621-3362.