Flooding is a common natural disaster in the United States and is most often caused by sudden heavy rainfall that accumulated faster than the soil or rivers can absorb it, such as in thunderstorms or hurricanes. Flooding can also be caused by rivers overflowing or dams breaking after heavy rains.
In these modern times, the most likely scenarios involving flooding would be within a structure such at your home or a building, or within a vehicle caught in a flash flood, as well as during outdoor trips. For this reason, this article will address safety and escape tips if you should ever find yourself in one of these situations, although I pray you won’t ever have that experience. However, some of our readers do live in flood prone areas, and we’d like to equip you with the knowledge needed to get yourself to safety, in wisdom and with prayer, Amen.
Flash floods could strike at any time without warning leaving many people in serious danger, even occurring in areas where flooding is unexpected. During times of excessive rain or rainy seasons, it’s best to always check the weather before going out. See if there have been any weather advisories for your area or areas nearby. Look for any flood warnings and take them seriously, especially if their anywhere near your route. Remember, it doesn’t have to take a lot of rain for flooding to occur, especially if you’re ons hiking trip near canyons or valleys – a roaring flood can happen in a second without warning or any visual signs. So it’s important to always know where you are and plan escape routes.
If you happen to be outdoors when flooding occurs, get to higher ground immediately and stay away from rivers. Try to get to a place where you can stay for a few hours until waters recede our help comes. If you’re in a canyon and can’t get to higher ground, look for a space where you can tuck yourself away from the rush of waters, any place that won’t leave you directly in the line of Fire.
And if you do find yourself immersed in flood waters unexpectedly, leave behind any belongings that could weigh you down in water – nothing is more valuable than your life! Again, if you do find yourself in flood waters, fight your hardest to keep your head above water and look for something up ahead that you can grasp onto such as a tree, anything you can cling to until help arrives.
If you happen to be driving at the time flash flooding occurs, do not drive toward flooded areas. If you so happen to come across a road the has flooded, do not try to drive through the waters, even if it doesn’t seem to be very deep, the water can be much deeper than expected. Turn around and take a different road. Just six inches of water can cause the car to lose control and stall out. A foot of water can float vehicles away, and two feet of rushing water can sweep away vehicles, even those that are higher above the ground such as SUV’s and pickup trucks. This is enough water to turn vehicles on their sides or even flip over. It’s much harder and can be disorienting to escape from a vehicle in those positions.
If your vehicle becomes stalled or swept away in water, get out and get to safety on higher ground immediately. If the vehicle begins to get submerged under water, exit through the window and get onto the roof of the vehicle and look for higher ground that you can get to immediately. Most vehicles are powered by the battery and will lose power in water. If this happens, find a way to break the windows using your feet or other hard object. Drowning can occur quickly if your vehicle becomes submerged so get out as quickly as possible and search for higher ground.
If you’re the area around your home, or your home itself becomes flooded, the first thing you need to do is turn off the electricity, if you can do so safely without stepping into water. This will help prevent electrocution. This means to turn off all light switches but turning everything off by the main breaker is best.
Evacuate the premises as soon as possible. Find higher ground of a dry place outside of your home. You may have to leave the neighborhood for your safety. Make sure that your family members and pets have gotten out safely as well, accounting for everyone before you leave. If the flooding is due to a natural disaster, your area maybe saturated with flood waters. Try contacting a local shelter for safety.
Once you and your loved ones are on higher ground, call emergency personnel. If anyone needs medical attention, call 911. Do not worry about things you have left behind and do not return to flooded homes – the damage is already done. The most important thing you can do is to focus on your safety and the safety of your loved ones.
If you are trapped in your home, get to a higher level of the home as soon as possible and call for emergency assistance. Until assistance is available, find higher ground – if possible, get onto the roof of your home if you cannot evacuate the property. I have seen on the news people making their way into their attics and trying to kick out small windows – not everyone fits through those windows, so you might have to break a hole through the roof, but if anything, I would try to get out of the home beforehand if possible, maybe through an open window, and get onto the roof until emergency personnel can get to you.
WAYS TO PROTECT YOURSELF
If you are in an area that has been affected by thunderstorms, hurricanes or earthquakes, or if you are in a flood prone area or in an area that has received a Flood Watch or Flood Warning, take precautions seriously. Never underestimate safety warnings or the power of flood waters. Flood Watches will have you on the lookout for flooding, while Flood Warnings mean that flooding is already taking place in your area. Place close attention to the news by either cell phone, radio or television and listen for updates.
When possible, have an emergency kit available. The suggested amount of supplies at for at least three days’ worth per person in your family. Emergency kits should include at least one gallon of water per day, per person. You should also have nonperishable food items, a flashlight, phone chargers, extra batteries, a first aid kit, at least 7 days’ worth of medications, personal hygiene items, important documents sealed in waterproof bags, and if possible a multi-purpose tool.
After a flood, listen out for safety warnings on whether or not the water in your area is safe to drink. Flooding can cause water to become contaminated with sewage, gasoline, oils, etc. all things that can cause serious illness. Water can also be charged with electricity from downed power lines. Try to stay out of watery areas and be sure to wear boots, sneakers or other shoes with rubber soles that can protect you from getting electrocuted in water saturated land. And avoid moving waters as you can be swept off your feet in just a few inches of water.
Even areas where floodwaters have begun to recede, can pose great danger. The roadways could have weakened and could collapse under the weight of vehicles. Stay out of buildings that have been surrounded by water as those buildings can collapse as well. If you see any downed powerlines, notify the power company. If you see someone in need of assistance, call emergency personnel. If you have been displaced from your home, do not return until emergency officials have indicated that it is safe to return to your area. Clean and disinfect anything that touched flood waters as they can be contaminated.
God bless you and your family and we pray for the safety of your loved ones during seasons of inclement weather!
Psalm 57:1-2 “Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me, for in you my soul takes refuge; in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge, till the storms of destruction pass by.”
Father God, we may not know the reasons why natural disasters occur, but we do know that all things work out for the good of those who love You, Lord. This does not mean that we will not face trials, but that You would give us the victory in all situations, and for that we thank You. As You have shown us in Mark 4, even the winds and the sea obey Your voice and we have faith that You will rescue us from the storm. We plead the Psalm 91 hedge of protection upon ourselves and our loved ones, that Your loving, kind, heavenly angels would encamp round about us in a hedge of protection. Save us from the surging waters, that we would be able to tell the world of Your saving grace. Lord, You remind us that no fire will kindle upon us and no waters will overflow us, because You are our fortress, our refuge and our strength. We thank You for Your protection and Your peace and we know that You will restore whatever the locust has taken. We thank You for being our help in times of trouble so we will not fear. We thank You for Your peace and comfort in times of crisis, and for the increase of our faith in knowing that all things are in Your control. In Jesus’ mighty and precious name we pray, Amen.
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