When floodwaters begin to rise, a lack of planning can lead to panic, so be sure to review nine things you shouldn't be doing when flooding threatens your home or family.
1. Drive Through Floodwaters
There's no telling how deep that water can be when a street gets flooded, so don't ever risk it. Also, remember that people with families have to come rescue you if you're stuck in floodwaters, so don't create a life-threatening situation for yourself or others.
2. Use Electricity in a Flooded Home
If water has crept into electrical outlets or currents, you could be electrocuted. Also, don't assume your entire house has lost power; some areas may still have live electricity. As always, never touch wires that have been downed by a storm, whether in water or not, because they could still be live.
3. Get in the Flood Water
Unless there's an extreme emergency that requires it, you should not wade around in floodwaters. You're subjecting yourself to disease, sewage and dangerous animals that may be in the murky water. Depending on the area, that could include snakes, fire ants, spiders and even alligators.
4. Handle Wild Animals in the Flood Water
It's always best to leave wildlife alone in a flood event. Strays could carry disease and may become aggressive. This situation is unfamiliar to humans, so imagine how much this is disturbing the wildlife.
5. Ignore Flood Warnings
Weather forecasts can change as an event evolves. It's paramount to stay up-to-date on the latest thinking from the experts, and choosing to ignore any of those warnings could be a fatal mistake. Don't tune out days before severe weather strikes, because warnings and impacts can change.
6. Neglect to Assemble a Flood Safety Kit
You need a severe weather kit in your home, and it could save your life in a flood. If you're unsure of what to include in a safety kit, here's a good list that'll get you started.
7. Leave Utilities On and Plugged In After You've Evacuated
If you leave your home for an extended period of time, turn off the electricity. Floodwaters could cause a lot of damage or even a fire if it gets into live electricity.
8. Be Improperly Dressed
Remember, flood water is dirty and filled with germs. Wear the right clothing if you're forced to interact with it. Waders are great; shorts and t-shirts are not.
9. Leave Furniture and Important Belongings on the Lowest Level of Your Home or Outside
You could lose a lot of items that have high monetary or personal value if the lower level of your house gets flooded. Move as many of those items as you can to the top level of your house, and remember to bring in those important belongings from the yard. If the floodwaters sweep away outdoor furniture, there's a good chance you'll never see it again.
All articles are copyrighted and remain the property of the author.
By Dan Heims, president, Terra Nova Nurseries, Inc.
Photographs courtesy of Terra Nova Nurseries, Inc.
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