Are you prepared for flooding?

Suffice to say, our area has dodged flooding this summer in the face of incessant rainfall.

Our neighbors to the east have suffered.

Who’s next?

Maybe … as rain started Saturday here and hasn’t ended .. yet.

This so-called summer, with its way-above-normal rainfall, suggests that we must ask ourselves: Are we prepared for flooding?

Let’s start with emphasizing the need for all of us to stay aware of conditions … of the weather.

And what are some of the key terms used for flood threats that we need to know?

Here are two:

– Flood Watch: This means flooding is possible in your area. Be prepared to move to higher ground or evacuate.

– Flood Warning: This means a flood is happening, or about to happen, in your area. Evacuate immediately if instructed to do so.

A flood warning is in effect for Bald Eagle Creek, in fact, as you read this.

Likely, that warning will extend beyond the Bald Eagle Creek watershed today.

There are Flood Watch and Flood Warning notifications for every kind of flood.

They can be used for flash floods, coastal floods, river floods, etc.

Common sense says you should prepare your home or business in case of flooding.

Here’s some advice from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s web site at www.ready.gov:

– If your home or business is in a high risk flood area, consider making certain modifications to its design. These modifications include:

– Install “check valves” to help prevent sewer lines from flooding the drains in your house or business.

– Install sump pumps that have battery backup.

– Elevate valuable installations such as furnaces, electric panels, circuit breakers and water heaters.

– Waterproofing your basement.

If your home or business is in an area that is very high risk for flooding, consider elevating the entire structure. Yes, that’s easier said than done … and expensive. But you decide the risk vs. feasibility.

Know your evacuation route.

Most floods require that you evacuate your home or business.

Contact your fire department or town hall to learn the evacuation route for your area. Make sure that your friends and family know the plan as well. Make sure that friends and family who are unable to evacuate are accounted for in your evacuation plan. Also, fill your car with gas and pack your emergency kit when you receive notification of a flood watch.

During a flood, secure your home. In the event of a slow flood, you may have time to prepare your home and help mitigate damage before you evacuate. Place valuable items that you cannot evacuate on higher levels of your home or business. If you know how, turn off gas, water and electricity to your home or business. If you have time, consider placing sandbags around your home.

And finally, don’t travel near floodwater.

Always try to find another route. Roads can be washed away under floodwater.

Heck, just 6 inches of moving floodwater is enough to knock a person over.

A foot of moving floodwater can set a large SUV adrift.

As they say, turn around, don’t drown.

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