Spring arrives every year and along with the warmer weather comes the possibility of dangerous weather to include flooding.
A Few Facts
Floods are one of the most common and widespread of all natural disasters, and more than half of all flood victims were in a vehicle that was swept away by floodwaters.
If you have moved to another state or even to another area of your state, make sure you know what natural disasters you can expect. Do your research so you can prepare, because being prepared and staying informed can save your life.
You may already know the difference between a watch and a warning but some of you may not but regardless a reminder never hurt anyone. A tornado watch, for example, means a tornado is possible in your area, and a tornado warning means a tornado has been spotted in your area.
Staying informed is critical so you have to monitor all television, local radio stations, and NOAA weather radio so you have as much warning as possible. Assume that any thunderstorm can create the conditions for a tornado.
There are decisions you have to make when there is pending dangerous weather conditions. Keep in mind that school children are not necessarily safe at school or at daycare centers. Unfortunately parents found this out in May of 2013 in Oklahoma when a series of tornadoes swept through the community of Moore Oklahoma. It was a horrific time, and still is to this day, and will be forever, for parents and for the community as a whole.
As a parent you have to decide if sending your children to school or to day care is the right move if bad weather is predicted. In some cases children may already be at school when a storm hits but in most cases there are early warnings, and you may have to decide whether to keep your children home from school or not.
Know the emergency procedures for your children’s school and/or daycare center. Know the policies for picking up children while school is still in session. There may be bad weather predicted, and out of an abundance of caution you may want to get your children home before the weather gets any worse. You have to decide this, unless the school notifies you to pick up your children. You also need to know where your child may be if the school enacts emergency procedures due to weather events. Are the children moved to another building, and where inside any building can you expect the children to be during a tornado for example.
Be Ready Wherever You Are
If you have children in school or who attend daycare centers and you have to pick them up because of weather are you prepared to get them home safely? Flying debris can and will cause injury and death. Fatal head injuries are a very real possibility during a tornado. Football and bicycle helmets can reduce head injuries due to flying debris.
- Have protective gear in your vehicle at all times for all of your children and yourself to include safety glasses/goggles, protective head gear, heavy coats, sturdy shoes, and gloves for every person. There may be sharp debris on the ground, so feet will need to be protected, because children may go to school wearing sandals or shoes that would not offer protection against sharp objects on the ground
- Emergency Mylar blankets, because wet clothing and wind can make anyone susceptible to hypothermia
- First aid kit
- Rain gear for every person
- Gloves to protect hands
- Two-Way family radios because cell phone service may be disrupted or the volume of calls can cause delays
Despite all the warnings in the news, on the Internet and even signs posted along roadways people continually try to drive through floodwaters. A vehicle can actually float in 12 inches of water and can be swept away by only 24 inches of water. Crossing any flooded area is dangerous in a vehicle and on foot. There is no reason to try and cross.
Be prepared by knowing alternate routes, and know the areas prone to flooding so you can avoid them altogether. Every one bunches up at flooded crossings making it difficult if not impossible to get turned around. Avoid theses areas in the first place, by doing some research and staying informed by listening to local news stations as you drive.
Some people tend to get through their days by being oblivious to what is going on around them. Some do this on purpose, and others get caught up in texting, playing games on their phones, posting to social media sites and just generally checking out from reality, because it is easier than facing reality.
If you are one of those that do what is described above then you may not know a tornado, for example, is bearing down on you until you feel the house lift off its foundation. You have to stay informed and when dangerous weather is in the forecast you have to continually monitor for status updates.
Responsible people make a point of staying informed, so they can render help to the community and to others around them. Some of you have children, spouses/partners, elderly parents, brothers and sisters and even friends that may need help during a natural disaster.
Being responsible means you are prepared and you stay ahead of the event instead of waiting until the event is upon you before you react.
FloodSmart.gov. (2015, March). Retrieved 2015, from https://www.floodsmart.gov/floodsmart/pages/media_resources/fact_floodfacts.jsp