Updated: April 13, 2014 at 9:40 am
FLOODS Know the Difference
Flood/Flash Flood Watch: Flooding or flash flooding is possible in your area.
Flood/Flash Flood Warning: Flooding or flash flooding is already occurring or will occur soon in your area.
What should I know/do?
- Follow local news websites, alerts and tweets, and listen to local radio and TV reports and NOAA Weather Radio for flood reports and critical weather and evacuation information.
- Be prepared to evacuate at a moment's notice.
- When a flood or flash flood warning is issued for your area, head for higher ground and stay there.
- Stay away from floodwaters. If you come upon water that is flowing higher than your ankles, stop, turn around and go another way.
- If you come upon a flooded road while driving, turn around and go another way.
- If you are caught on a flooded road and waters are rising rapidly around you, get out of your car and move to higher ground. Most cars can be swept away by less than 2 feet of moving water.
- Keep children out of the water.
- Be especially cautious at night.
What do I do after the flood?
- Return home only when officials have declared the area safe.
- Before entering your home, look outside for loose power lines, damaged gas lines, foundation cracks or other damage.
- If you smell natural or propane gas or hear a hissing noise, leave immediately and call the fire department.
- If power lines are down outside your home, do not step in puddles or standing water.
- Keep children and pets away from hazardous sites and floodwater.
- Materials such as cleaning products, paint and batteries can contaminate water and mud.
- During cleanup, wear protective clothing, including rubber gloves and rubber boots.
- Discard items including canned goods, water bottles, plastic utensils and baby bottle nipples that have come in contact with floodwater. When in doubt, throw it out!
- Do not use water that could be contaminated.
- Contact your local or state public health department for specific recommendations for boiling or treating water.
WILDFIRES What should I do to prepare ahead of time?
- Learn about wildfire risks in your area.
- Talk with members of your household about wildfires - how to prevent them and what to do if one occurs.
- Make sure driveway entrances and your house number or address are clearly marked.
- Set aside household items that can be used as fire tools: a rake, ax, hand saw or chain saw, bucket and shovel. You may need to fight small fires before emergency responders arrive.
- Select building materials and plants that resist fire.
- Regularly clean roofs and gutters.
- Plan and practice two ways out of your neighborhood in case your primary route is blocked.
- Select a place for family members to meet outside your neighborhood in case you cannot get home or need to evacuate.
What should I do if there are reports of a wildfire in my area?
- Be ready to leave at a moment's notice.
- Watch local news websites, alerts and tweets, and listen to local radio and TV reports for updated emergency information.
- Back your car into the garage or park it in an open space facing the direction of escape.
- Confine pets to one room so that you can find them if you need to evacuate quickly.
- Arrange for temporary housing at a friend or relative's home outside the threatened area.
- Limit exposure to smoke and dust.
- Keep indoor air clean by closing windows and doors to prevent smoke from getting in.
- Use the recycle or re-circulate mode on the air conditioner in your home or car.
Returning home after a wildfire
- Do not enter your home until fire officials say it is safe.
- Use caution when entering burned areas as hazards may still exist, including hot spots, which can flare up without warning, and damaged trees that can fall without warning.
- Avoid damaged or fallen power lines, poles and downed wires.
- Watch for ash pits and mark them for safety.
- Watch animals closely and keep them under your direct control.
- Follow public health guidance on safe cleanup of ash and safe use of masks.
- Wet debris down to minimize breathing dust particles.
- Wear leather gloves and heavy-soled shoes to protect hands and feet.
- Ensure your food and water are safe.
- Discard any food that has been exposed to heat, smoke or soot.
- Do not use water that you think may be contaminated.
What supplies do I need if I must evacuate?
- Water: At least a 3-day supply; one gallon per person per day.
- Food: At least a 3-day supply of nonperishable, easy-to-prepare food.
- Battery-powered or hand-crank radio (NOAA weather radio, if possible)
- Extra batteries
- First-aid kit
- Medications (7-day supply) and medical items (hearing aids with extra batteries, glasses, contact lenses and solution, syringes, cane, etc.)
- Multipurpose tool
- Sanitation and personal hygiene items
- Copies of personal documents (medication list, medical information, deed/lease to home, birth certificates, insurance policies)
- Cellphone and charger
- Family and emergency contact information
- Extra cash
- Emergency blankets
- Maps of the area
- Baby supplies (bottles, formula, food, diapers)
- Pet supplies (collar, leash, ID, food, carrier, bowl)
- Tools/supplies for securing your home
- Extra set of car keys and house keys
- Extra clothing, hat and sturdy shoes
- Rain gear
- Camera (insurance purposes)
Let others know you're safe.
Register on the American Red Cross Safe and Well website - RedCross.org/SafeandWell - or call 1-866-GET-INFO to let your family and friends know about your welfare. AMERICAN RED CROSS