Disaster Preparedness Article 5: Flood Preparedness

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Flood Preparedness

Due to the unpredictable nature of floods, taking the necessary steps to prepare and staying up-to-date with current communications are essential for one’s safety. Ready.gov emphasizes how floods often result from heavy snow, storms, and overflows of dams and other water systems. Notably, floods are the most common natural disaster in the United States. In Colorado, flash flooding is usually a product of heavy rain in a short period of time, specific to a small area ( “Flash Flood Safety”).

Large floods have the potential to cause extensive damage, ranging from outages, disruption in transportation, damages to buildings, and even landslides (Ready.gov). Below you will find information about how to prepare, what to do during, and the steps to follow after a flood.

How to Prepare for a Flood:

  • Individuals should be aware of their surrounding area such as streams, drainage channels, and canyons. Flash floods may occur without the typical warning signs, such as heavy rain or storm clouds.
  • Sign up for community warning systems. Social media, such as Twitter, is an excellent resource for updates. For example, CO Flood Updates and CO – Emergency Management post frequently regarding flood threats throughout the state.
  • Protect your property and important documentation, specifically by moving valuables to higher ground.
  • Consider buying flood insurance. It is possible for anyone to get flooded, even if one is not in a designated flood zone. Moreover, homeowners insurance does not cover flood damage and you will need a specific waiver.

Under a Flood Warning:

  • Go to a safe location previously identified. If you are told to evacuate, do so immediately.
  • Do not walk, swim or drive through flood waters. Also, stay off bridges located over fast-moving water.
  • Keep updated through communication avenues such as the local radio or local alerting systems. Consider the ones mentioned in the previous list.

Be Safe After:

  • Listen to authorities for information and instructions.
  • Use extreme caution when entering buildings. There could be hidden damage, especially the foundation.
  • Clean and disinfect everything that may have gotten wet. It is possible the mud from floodwater contains sewage and other chemicals. One should also avoid wading in floodwater.

The list above highlights a few key steps to consider for flood safety and preparedness. In Colorado, flash floods may occur with little notice and individuals should take steps to keep themselves and community members safe.

More information can be found by following these resources:

American Red Cross

CO – Emergency Mgmt (Twitter)

CO Flood Updated (Twitter)

FEMA

Sources:

“Fact Sheet Floods” FEMA

“Flash Flood Safety” City of Golden

“Floods” Ready.gov

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