GEMA Urges Georgians to Prepare for Flooding
Ready Georgia promotes flood safety during Severe Weather Awareness Week
(ATLANTA) – Although not commonly known, flooding kills more people nationwide than any other weather hazard – and this includes tornadoes and hurricanes. Only a few years ago, record-breaking rainfall and flooding in fall 2009 cost 10 people their lives and caused hundreds of millions of dollars in damage across Georgia.
With Flood Safety Day on Feb. 7, the Georgia Emergency Management Agency/Homeland Security (GEMA) is encouraging residents to set aside time to learn how to prepare for and respond to the dangerous weather threat.
Floods can be slow or fast rising but generally develop over a period of days. Flash floods usually result from intense storms dropping large amounts of rain within a brief period. They occur with little or no warning and can reach full peak within minutes.
Nearly half of all flood-related deaths occur when people drive into floodwaters and their vehicle is swept away. Turning around instead of driving through the flooded area can prevent most of these fatalities. Unfortunately, it is often difficult to determine how deep the water is or the condition of the road when it is flooded, particularly at night, when vision is limited. Few people realize that only six inches of water can knock over an adult and a mere two feet of water can sweep away most vehicles.
Here are more flood safety tips from GEMA’s Ready Georgia campaign:
Prepare for Flooding
- Know your area’s flood risk — if you are unsure, call your local emergency management agency office or planning and zoning department, or visit www.floodsmart.gov.
- Put together an emergency supplies kit and prepare a portable Ready kit in case you have to evacuate.
- Reduce potential flood damage by raising your furnace, water heater and electric panel if they are in areas of your home that may be flooded.
- Monitor NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio, or television for the latest weather forecasts, or download the Ready Georgia mobile app.
- Know the terms – a flood WATCH means a flood is possible in your area, while a flood WARNING means flooding is already occurring or will occur soon in your area.
- Keep insurance policies, documents, and other valuables in a safe deposit box and keep copies in a waterproof container in your Ready kit.
Plan to Evacuate
- Plan how you will leave and where you will go if you are advised to evacuate. Determine an alternative route in case roads are blocked.
- Your family might not be together when disaster strikes, so plan how you will reconnect. Choose a meeting place outside of your neighborhood in case your family is apart and unable to return home due to flooded roads.
- If you have a car, fill the gas tank. If you do not have a car, plan alternate means of evacuating.
- Move your furniture and valuables to higher floors of your home.
- Plan ahead for your pets. Shelters cannot accept pets due to health reasons, so it’s important to find a pet-friendly hotel or make arrangements with family or friends in advance.
Stay Informed about Flooding
- If it has been raining hard for several hours, or steadily raining for several days, be alert to the possibility of a flood.
- Closely monitor a local radio station, TV station or NOAA Weather Radio for flood information.
- Follow the instructions of local officials. If advised to evacuate, do so immediately.
- Do not drive around barricades. They are there for your safety.
- Never drive through standing water. It only takes two feet of water to float a full-sized automobile.
- Move to higher ground away from rivers, streams, creeks and storm drains.
- Stay out of floodwaters if possible. The water may be contaminated or electrically charged. However, if your car stalls in rapidly rising waters, get out immediately and seek higher ground.
- Stay away from downed power lines to avoid the risk of electric shock or electrocution.
- Do not return home until local authorities say it is safe. Even after floodwaters recede, roads and bridges may be weakened and could collapse. Buildings may be unstable, and drinking water may be contaminated. Use common sense and exercise caution.
For more information on how to prepare for severe weather visit, www.ready.ga.gov or www.srh.noaa.gov/ffc or download Ready Georgia’s free mobile app. To learn about specific risks in your area, contact your local emergency management agency.
# # #
About Ready Georgia
Ready Georgia is a statewide campaign designed to educate and empower Georgians to prepare for and respond to natural disasters, pandemic outbreaks, potential terrorist attacks and other large-scale emergencies. The campaign is a project of the Georgia Emergency Management Agency (GEMA) and provides a local dimension to Ready America, a broader national campaign. Ready Georgia aims to prepare citizens for maintaining self-sufficiency for at least 72 hours following an emergency, and uses an interactive Web site, online community toolkit, broadcast and print advertising and public awareness media messaging to reach its audiences. Ready Georgia is also on Facebook and YouTube.