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Irene Update 25: Tips for during and after a flood

Posted by FEMA Public Affairs

Tropical storm Irene continues to affect much of the East Coast, bringing significant rainfall and potential flooding/flash flooding to the affected areas. We encourage all those in communities that have been or may be impacted to follow the direction of local officials and take shelter inside during the storm.

As Irene continues through the East Coast, stay tuned to the radio and television for information, and remember that flash flooding can occur at a moment’s notice. Here are some additional flood safety tips in case your community, or that of a friend/loved one, may be affected by the heavy rains of Irene.

During a flood:
  • Be aware of streams, drainage channels, canyons, and other areas known to flood suddenly. Flash floods can occur in these areas with or without such typical warnings as rain clouds or heavy rain.
  • Secure your home. If you have time, bring in outdoor furniture. Move essential items to an upper floor.
  • Do not walk through moving water. Six inches of moving water can make you fall. If you have to walk in water, walk where the water is not moving. Use a stick to check the firmness of the ground in front of you.
  • Do not drive into flooded areas. If floodwaters rise around your car, abandon the car and move to higher ground if you can do so safely. You and the vehicle can be quickly swept away.
After a flood:
  • Listen for news reports to learn whether the community’s water supply is safe to drink.
  • Avoid floodwaters; water may be contaminated by oil, gasoline, or raw sewage. Water may also be electrically charged from underground or downed power lines.
  • Avoid moving water.
  • Stay away from downed power lines, and report them to the power company.
  • Use extreme caution when entering buildings; there may be hidden damage, particularly in foundations.
Visit fema.gov for more information about what to do before, during and after a flood, or on your phone at m.fema.gov – and see the severe weather watches/warnings in your area at www.weather.gov.
Published by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Washington, D.C.
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