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.
- Consult with a professional for further information if this and other damage reduction measures can be taken.
Floods Can Take Several Hours to Days to Develop
- A flood WATCH means a flood is possible in your area.
- A flood WARNING means flooding is already occurring or will occur soon in your area.
When a Flood WATCH Is Issued . . .
- Move your furniture and valuables to higher floors of your home.
- Fill your car’s gas tank, in case an evacuation notice is issued.
When a Flood WARNING Is Issued . . .
- Listen to local radio and TV stations for information and advice. If told to evacuate, do so as soon as possible.
When a Flash Flood WATCH Is Issued . . .
- Be alert to signs of flash flooding and be ready to evacuate on a moment’s notice.
When a Flash Flood WARNING Is Issued . . .
- Or if you think it has already started, evacuate immediately. You may have only seconds to escape. Act quickly!
- Move to higher ground away from rivers, streams, creeks, and storm drains. Do not drive around barricades . . . they are there for your safety.
- If your car stalls in rapidly rising waters, abandon it immediately and climb to higher ground.
How to Protect Your Property
· If your property is in a landslide-prone area, contract with a private consulting company specializing in earth movement for opinions and advice on landslide problems and on corrective measures you can take. Such companies would likely be those specializing in geotechnical engineering, structural engineering, or civil engineering. Local officials could possibly advise you as to the best kind of professional to contact in your area. Taking steps without consulting a professional could make your situation worse.
· Install flexible pipe fittings to avoid gas or water leaks. Flexible fittings will be less likely to break.
What to Do Before Intense Storms
· Become familiar with the land around you. Learn whether landslides and debris flows have occurred in your area by contacting local officials, state geological surveys or departments of natural resources, and university departments of geology. Knowing the land can help you assess your risk for danger.
· Watch the patterns of storm-water drainage on slopes near your home, and especially the places where runoff water converges, increasing flow over soil-covered slopes. Watch the hillsides around your home for any signs of land movement, such as small landslides or debris flows, or progressively tilting trees. Watching small changes could alert you to the potential of a greater landslide threat.
What to Do During Intense Storms
· Stay alert and awake. Many debris-flow fatalities occur when people are sleeping. Listen to a NOAA Weather Radio or portable, battery-powered radio or television for warnings of intense rainfall. Be aware that intense, short bursts of rain may be particularly dangerous, especially after longer periods of heavy rainfall and damp weather.
· If you are in areas susceptible to landslides and debris flows, consider leaving if it is safe to do so. Remember that driving during an intense storm can be hazardous. If you remain at home, move to a second story if possible. Staying out of the path of a landslide or debris flow saves lives.
· Listen for any unusual sounds that might indicate moving debris, such as trees cracking or boulders knocking together. A trickle of flowing or falling mud or debris may precede larger landslides. Moving debris can flow quickly and sometimes without warning.
· If you are near a stream or channel, be alert for any sudden increase or decrease in water flow and for a change from clear to muddy water. Such changes may indicate landslide activity upstream, so be prepared to move quickly. Don’t delay! Save yourself, not your belongings.
· Be especially alert when driving. Embankments along roadsides are particularly susceptible to landslides. Watch the road for collapsed pavement, mud, fallen rocks, and other indications of possible debris flows.
What to Do if You Suspect Imminent Landslide Danger
· Contact your local fire, police, or public works department. Local officials are the best persons able to assess potential danger.
· Inform affected neighbors. Your neighbors may not be aware of potential hazards. Advising them of a potential threat may help save lives. Help neighbors who may need assistance to evacuate.
· Evacuate. Getting out of the path of a landslide or debris flow is your best protection.
What to Do During a Landslide
· Quickly move out of the path of the landslide or debris flow. Moving away from the path of the flow to a stable area will reduce your risk.
· If escape is not possible, curl into a tight ball and protect your head. A tight ball will provide the best protection for your body.
What to Do After a Landslide
· Stay away from the slide area. There may be danger of additional slides.
· Check for injured and trapped persons near the slide, without entering the direct slide area. Direct rescuers to their locations.
· Help a neighbor who may require special assistance–infants, elderly people, and people with disabilities. Elderly people and people with disabilities may require additional assistance. People who care for them or who have large families may need additional assistance in emergency situations.
· Listen to local radio or television stations for the latest emergency information.
· Watch for flooding, which may occur after a landslide or debris flow. Floods sometimes follow landslides and debris flows because they may both be started by the same event.
· Look for and report broken utility lines to appropriate authorities. Reporting potential hazards will get the utilities turned off as quickly as possible, preventing further hazard and injury.
· Check the building foundation, chimney, and surrounding land for damage. Damage to foundations, chimneys, or surrounding land may help you assess the safety of the area.
· Replant damaged ground as soon as possible since erosion caused by loss of ground cover can lead to flash flooding.
· Seek the advice of a geotechnical expert for evaluating landslide hazards or designing corrective techniques to reduce landslide risk. A professional will be able to advise you of the best ways to prevent or reduce landslide risk, without creating further hazard.