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Before, During and After
As in the past, rising tides and torrential rainfalls have led to flooding here in Solano County.
There are actions you can take to protect your family and keep your property losses to a minimum. Mitigation helps. It lessens the damaging effects from flooding. Participating in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and enforcing sound floodplain management techniques are steps the community can undertake. Constructing barriers such as levees will also help reduce the amount of damage to your home and crops, while purchasing flood insurance reduces the financial burden should a flood or flash flood occur. The most important thing is to make sure your family is safe.
Before a Flood
Find out what your flood risk is. Your community public works or environmental management department are your best resources to learn about the history of flooding for your region. Ask whether your property is in the floodplain and if it is above or below the flood stage water level. Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) are used to determine your flood risk. FIRMs are found in several places for your convenience:
- Contact your local community map repository, usually, the building and planning departments.
- Go to WWW.FEMA.Gov and click on FEMA Flood Map Store for maps, flood studies, and other products on-line or paper copies Clean out downspouts and gutters to your home or business or visit the California Department of Water Resources at www.water.ca.gov/ca-flood-preparedness/ for more informaiton.
- Prevent sewer lines from backing up by installing backflow valves or standpipes.
- Raise your washer, dryer and other equipment such as the water heater, furnace and electrical wiring above the base flood elevation level on a masonry base. If you are unable to raise a particular item, consider anchoring it and protecting it with a floodwall or shield.
- For homes with a basement install flood shields or built up barriers for windows and doors. The tops of barriers should extend above the base flood elevation.
- Install and maintain a sump pump system if you have below grade floors.
- Landscape with native plants and vegetation that resist soil erosion.
- Videotape or take photographs of your property, home and contents.
- Purchase a good flashlight and maintain the batteries in a ready state.
- Keep all necessary batteries for cell phones and portable charges phones.
Know the Flood Terminology
- FLOOD WATCH – A flood is possible in the area.
- FLOOD WARNING – Flooding is already occurring in the area.
- FLASH FLOOD – Sudden, and Violent Flood.
Have disaster supplies on hand
As with any disaster, have a family disaster supply lit. be prepared to be self sufficeint for atleast 72 hours.
- Flashlights and extra batteries
- Portable, battery-operated radio and extra batteries tuned to a local station, and follow emergency instructions.
- First aid kit and manual
- Non-electric can opener
- Essential and prescribed medications
- Cash and credit cards
- Sturdy shoes, rain gear, extra clothing
- Special items for infants, elderly and disabled family members
- An extra set of car keys
- Water (one gallon per person per day). Replace every six months.
- Non-perishable packaged or canned foods and a non-electric can opener.
- A list of Doctors, medications and important family medical information
- Cell phone, charger and batteries
- Personal address book and telephone list
- Flood insurance policy
- Pet food
If you live in a frequently flooded area, take preventative measures and stockpile emergency building materials:
- Plywood, plastic sheeting, lumber, nails, hammer and saw, pry bar, shovels, and sandbags.
- Have check valves installed in building sewer traps to prevent flood waters from backing up in sewer drains.
- As a last resort, use large corks or stoppers to plug showers, tubs, or basins.
If time permits, here are other steps that you can take before the flood waters come:
- Tun off all utilities at the main power switch and close the main gas valve if evaculation appears necessary.
- Move valuable, such as papers, furs, jewelry, and clothing to an upper floor or higher elevation.
- Fill bathtubs, sinks and plastic soda bottles with clean water. Sanitize the sinks and tubs first by using bleach. Rinse, and then fill with clean water.
- Bring outdoor possessions, such as lawn furniture, grills and trashcans inside, or tie them down securely.
- Move vehicles and equipment to a high ground area that does not flood.
- Know how and where to obtain sandbags. Check with Solano County OES website or your local fire department.
Once The Flood Arrives
Don't drive through a flooded area. If you come upon a flooded road, turn around and go the other way. More people drown in their cars than anywhere else.ur car stalls, abandon it immediately and climb to higher ground. Many deaths have resulted from attempts to move stalled vehicles.
- Don't walk through flooded areas. As little as six inches of moving water can knock you off your feet.
- Stay away from downed power fines and electrical wires. Electrocution is another major source of deaths in floods. Electric current passes easily through water.
- Look out for animals - especially snakes. Animals lose their homes in floods, too. They may seek shelter in yours.
- If the waters start to rise inside your house before you have evacuated, retreat to the second floor, the attic, and if necessary, the roof.
- Take dry clothing, a flashlight and a portable radio with you. Then, wait for help.
- Don't try to swim to safety; wait for rescuers to come to you.
- If Outdoors, climb to high ground and stay there.
After The Flood
Flood dangers do not end when the water begins to recede. Listen to a radio or television and don't return home until authorities indicate it is safe to do so. Remember to help your neighbors who may require special assistance--infants, elderly people, and people with disabilities.
- If your home, apartment or business has suffered damage, call the insurance company or agent who handles your flood insurance policy right away to file a claim.
- Before entering a building, inspect foundations for cracks or other damage. Don't go in if there is any chance of the building collapsing.
- Upon entering the building, don’t use matches, cigarette lighters or any other open flames, since gas may be trapped inside. Instead, use a flashlight to light your way.
- Keep power off until an electrician has inspected your system for safety.
- Floodwaters pick up sewage and chemicals from roads, farms and factories. If your home has been flooded, protect your family's health by cleaning up your house right away. Throw out foods and medicines that may have met floodwater.
- Until local authorities proclaim your water supply to be safe, boil water for drinking and food preparation vigorously for five minutes before using.
- Be careful walking around. After a flood, steps and floors are often slippery with mud and covered with debris, including nails and broken glass.
- Take numerous photographs of all damage and repairs.
- Document all purchases for supplies, materials, labor, appliances, furniture, etc.
Take steps to reduce your risk of future floods. Make sure to follow local building codes and ordinances when rebuilding, and use flood-resistant materials and techniques to protect yourself and your property from future flood damage.