Fortunately, the most of the types of flooding events in Accomack County come with plenty of warning. Still, protecting yourself and your family can begin well before a flooding event.
Well before a flooding event:
- Build an emergency kit with enough drinking water, canned food, first aid supplies, blankets, a radio, flashlight and batteries to last at least 72 hours.
- Be aware of roads and areas in your area that are prone to flooding and determine alternate routes, if necessary, to get around flooding.
- Develop a plan for communicating information to concerned friends and relatives out of the area.
Just before a flooding event:
- Listen to the radio or television for information.
- Secure loose items in your yard that could be moved by flood waters an d develop into hazards or obstructions such as lawn furniture, grills, propane tanks, etc.
- If there is a threat of flood waters entering your home, elevate essential items, if possible.
- If evacuating, consider disconnecting appliances and turning off power turning off utilities at the main switch if instructed to do so.
- Be aware of evacuation route and shelter locations.
During a flood:
- Do not attempt to walk across flowing streams or drive through flooded roadways. Turn around. Don’t drown.
- Six inches of moving water can make you fall. If you have to walk in water, walk where the water is not moving. Use a stick to check the firmness of the ground in front of you.
- Do not drive into flooded areas. Six inches of water will reach the bottom of most passenger cars causing loss of control and possible stalling.
- The weight of water may collapse some roads underneath them.
- A foot of water will float many vehicles
- Avoid downed power lines.
- If you come into contact with floodwaters, wash your hands with soap and disinfected water.
- Do not use gas engines, such as generators, or charcoal fires indoors during power outages.
After a flood:
- Use local alerts and warning systems to get information and expert informed advice as soon as available.
- Avoid moving water.
- Be alert to gas leaks.
- Emergency workers will be assisting people in flooded areas. You can help them by staying off the roads and out of the way.
- Return home only when authorities indicate it is safe.
- Roads may still be closed because they have been damaged or are covered by water. Barricades have been placed for your protection. If you come upon a barricade or a flooded road, go another way.
- If you must walk or drive in areas that have been flooded. Stay on firm ground. Standing water may be electrically charged from underground or downed power lines.
- Flooding may have caused familiar places to change. Floodwaters often erode roads and walkways. Flood debris may hide animals and broken bottles, and it's also slippery. Avoid walking or driving through it.
- Be aware of areas where floodwaters have receded. Roads may have weakened and could collapse under the weight of a car.
- Use extreme caution when entering buildings; there may be hidden damage, particularly in foundations. Check for structural damage before re-entering your home to avoid being trapped in a building collapse.
- Avoid floodwaters; water may be contaminated by oil, gasoline or raw sewage.
- Service damaged septic tanks, cesspools, pits and leaching systems as soon as possible. Damaged sewer systems are serious health hazards.
- Clean and disinfect everything that got wet. Mud left from floodwaters can contain sewage and chemicals.
- Wear gloves and boots to clean and disinfect. Wet items should be cleaned with a pine-oil cleanser and bleach, completely dried, and monitored for several days for any fungal growth and odors.