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Gazette Premium Content Danger at your Doorstep: Tips for floods, fires

The Gazette 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.

- Flashlight

- 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

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