* Avoid or leave areas subject to sudden flooding. These include
dips and low spots.
* Avoid already flooded and high velocity flow areas. Do not
attempt to cross flowing streams.
* If driving, be aware that the road bed may not be intact
under flood waters. Turn around and go another way.
* Never drive through flooded roadways. The depth of the
water is not always obvious. If the vehicle stalls, leave it
immediately and seek higher ground. Rapidly rising water may engulf
the vehicle and its occupants, sweeping them away.
* Use caution at night when it is more difficult to
recognize flood dangers.
* Children should never play around high water, storm drains
After the Flood
* If fresh food has come in contact with flood waters, throw it
* Boil drinking water before using. Wells should be pumped
out and the water tested for purity before drinking. If in doubt,
call your local public health authority.
* Seek necessary medical care at the nearest hospital. Food,
clothing, shelter, and the first aid are available from the Red
* Do not visit disaster areas. Your presence might hamper
rescue and other emergency operations.
* Electrical equipment should be checked and dried before
being returned to service.
* Use flashlights (not lanterns, torches, or matches), to
examine buildings. Flammables may be inside.
* Report broken utility lines to the appropriate
If your home is flooded:
As soon as you’re allowed back in the house and it’s
safe to turn on the electricity (an electrician will have to make
this determination), turn the air conditioning on to start the
movement of cool, dry air throughout the house.
If the AC isn’t on, don’t open the doors and windows
hoping to get some air through the house. The humidity outside is
probably higher than inside, and all the wet outside air goes
inside, making a bad situation worse.
If the house is truly soaked, you may need professional
equipment: high-velocity air movers and dehumidifiers.
Your home AC and household fans don’t have the power to do
Remove soaked carpets and pads. Insurers will regard them as
unsalvageable if they’ve been soaked in water from a storm
(homeowner’s insurance does not cover damage from rising
water; separate flood coverage is required).
If you have hard-surface floors (wood or tile), a wet vacuum can
help suck up the water.
A hurricane’s heavy rains may also cause damage from
above. If water penetrates the roof, ceilings may collapse,
insulation is soaked, water soaks walls and drips down through air
The big post-flooding headache is mold, which thrives in warmth
and moisture. Washing surfaces with a bleach solution or painting
over mold with primers and shellacs such as Kilz® will hide
mold, but physical removal is the only real solution. That means
cutting out drywall, removing soaked insulation, and sanding wood
Vinyl wall covering should be removed. It acts as a vapor
barrier so the wall behind it can’t dry.
Some homeowners cover everything with plastic after a storm. If
furniture and household items are wet under that plastic,
you’re creating a mini greenhouse where you’ll grow a
bumper crop of mold. Dry the items before you wrap them in