Flood preparation in the Hudson Valley
While New York State may have nine regional stockpiles equipped with sandbagging machines, generators, pumps and hoses, residents can take the following precautions during potentially dangerous flooding:
FLOOD SAFETY PREPAREDNESS:
Learn the safest route from your home or business to high, safe ground should you have to leave in a hurry. Develop and practice a family escape plan and identify a meeting place if family members become separated.
Program emergency numbers into the phones of each household member.
Make an itemized list – as well as potential photo and video documentation -- of all valuables, including furnishings, clothing, and other personal property. Keep the list in a safe place.
Stockpile emergency supplies of canned food, medicine, first aid supplies, and drinking water. Store drinking water in clean, closed containers.
Have a plan for your pets.
Have a portable radio, flashlights, extra batteries, and emergency cooking equipment available.
Keep your automobile fueled. If electric power is cut off, gasoline stations may not be able to pump fuel for several days. Have a small disaster supply kit in the trunk of your car.
Find out how the location of your property relates to possible flood levels. When predicted flood levels are broadcast, you can determine if you may be flooded.
Keep materials like sandbags, plywood, plastic sheeting, and lumber handy for emergency water-proofing.
Check your insurance coverage. Homeowners’ insurance policies generally do not cover flood damages. Only flood insurance can protect your home against flood damages. You can purchase flood insurance whether or not you live in a mapped flood zone.
TRAVEL PRECAUTIONS DURING A FLOOD
During flash flooding, your vehicle can be the biggest danger. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that over half of all flood-related drownings occur when a vehicle is driven into hazardous flood water.
Do not attempt to drive over a flooded road. Turn around and go another way.
Driving through 6 inches of standing water can cause cars to lose control and stall.
Do not underestimate the destructive power of fast-moving water. A foot of rushing water can carry away a small car and it takes just two feet of fast-moving flood water to carry away most vehicles including SUVs and pick-up trucks. Water moving at two miles per hour can sweep cars off a road or bridge.
Watch for areas where rivers or streams may suddenly rise and flood, such as highway dips, bridges, and low areas.
If you are in your car and water begins to rise rapidly around you, abandon the vehicle immediately.
FLOOD SAFETY DURING A FLOOD:
Monitor the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Weather Radio or your local radio and TV station broadcasts for information.
If local officials advise evacuation, do so promptly. If you are directed to a specific location, go there.
Know where shelters are located.
As a precaution prior to any flood, check basement drains to make sure they are clear and energized wires are off the floor. If flooding of a home or business has already occurred, contact your utility companies to have electricity and natural gas service turned off. In the event of flooding, never attempt to turn off electricity and natural gas service. Stay out of flooded basements. Energized wiring or outlets below the water line may pose a hazard; natural gas service in a flooded basement may also pose a danger.
Bring outside possessions, including lawn furniture, garbage cans, and other movable objects, inside the house, or tie them down securely.
If there is time, move essential items and furniture to upper floors in the house.
Disconnect electrical appliances that cannot be moved. DO NOT touch them if you are wet or standing in water.
Secure your home by locking all doors and windows.
More safety tips for staying safe before, during, and after floods and other storms can be found on the DHSES website: www.dhses.ny.gov.