The Indiana Department of Homeland Security is urging residents this week to plan ahead for potential floods, in recognition of Flood Safety Awareness Week.
They say residents can prepare for flooding by putting together a disaster preparedness kit containing enough essential items to last your family for at least three days. Families should also develop an escape plan with multiple ways out, in case some of the roads are flooded. A communications plan should also be created, including an out-of-state contact and places where family members can meet should they become separated.
The IDHS also says some simple yard work can go a long way to reduce the effects of flooding around your home. They say when water levels are low, clear any debris from waterways, ditches and culverts. Additionally, if you see any large obstructions in rivers or creeks, contact local emergency management officials. If flooding does occur, clear debris from storm drains using a rake or shovel to avoid contact with flood water.
Some other precautions include making sure all sump pumps are working, clearing debris out of gutters and drain spouts, and keeping any important documents in a safe, waterproof file. Check local weather and river forecasts, since water levels can change rapidly. If there’s a chance that rising water may cut off access to and from your home, consider evacuating ahead of time.
However, the National Weather Service says that most flood-related deaths happen while driving.
The IDHS reminds drivers not to attempt to cross a flooded road, since water can conceal dips or wash away the entire road surface. They say that just a few inches of moving water can carry away most vehicles, including trucks and SUVs.
Additionally, since floods can lead to expensive damage, the IDHS recommends that homeowners consider purchasing flood insurance and keep a thorough documentation of their belongings.
For more flood safety tips, visit GetPrepared.in.gov.