Saturday, September 14, 2013

During A Disaster, Remember: Safety First!

Remember the number one priority during a disaster is safety! After your and your family are safe, you might want to check on your friends and neighbors to see if they are ok.

Remember the Size-Up Method:

1. Gather facts
2. Assess damage
3. Consider probabilities
4. Assess your situation
5. Establish priorities
6. Make decisions
7. Develop a plan of action
8. Take action
9. Evaluate progress

If you must evacuate, you should:

NOT walk, swim, or drive through flood waters. Learn and practice driving the local flood evacuation routes. They have been selected because they are safe and provide the best means of escaping flood waters. Flood waters move swiftly and may carry debris that can cause injuries. Remember that 24 inches of water can wash a car away and 6 inches of fast-moving water can knock a person off his or her feet!

Stay off bridges over fast-moving water. Fast-moving water can wash bridges away without warning, especially if the water contains heavy debris.

Keep away from waterways. If you are driving and come upon rapidly rising waters, turn around and find another route. Move to higher ground away form rivers, streams, and creeks.

Pay attention to barricades. Local responders place barricades to warn of flooding ahead or to direct traffic safely out of the area. Never drive around barricades. 

Avoid storm drains and irrigation ditches. During a flood, storm drains and irrigation ditches fill quickly with fast-moving water. Walking in or near storm drains or irrigation ditches is nearly a sure way to drown.

Keep family together.

Precautions to follow after a flood:

Stay out of flooded areas. Flooded areas remain unsafe. Entering a flooded area places you - and the individuals who may need to rescue you - at risk.

Reserve the telephone for emergencies only. Telecommunication lines (both landline and cellular) will be busy following a flood. A non-emergency call may prevent an emergency call from getting through. It is best not to use the phone unless it is necessary.

Avoid driving, except in emergencies. Reserve the roads for those who must evacuate and for emergency vehicles.

Wait for authorities to issue a clear message that it is safe to return to evacuated areas.

Be aware that snakes and other animals may be in your house in the aftermath of a flood. Look for loose boards and dark spaces, and investigate with care.

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