News Releases

March 17, 2009

Flood Safety Awareness Week: Be Ready Year Round

Waterbury, Vt. – Vermont Emergency Management is joining the National Weather Service in recognizing March 16-20, 2009 as Flood Safety Awareness Week. This week presents an opportunity to bring to light the preventative measures citizens should be taking now.

“Despite the lack of snow in the Valleys of Vermont we are not out of the woods yet as far as flooding goes,” Vermont Emergency Management Director Barbara Farr said. “There is still a significant snow pack in the mountains and even though most ice jams appear to have dissipated; a quick thaw could still have an adverse effect and make flooding a real possibility. Vermonters need to prepare for anything.”

Some steps families can take to prepare for possible flooding:

• Know the terms used to describe flooding:

o Flood Watch – Flooding is possible. Watches are issued by the National Weather Service (NWS) 12 to 36 hours in advance of a possible event.

o Flash Flood Watch – Flash Flooding is possible. Be prepared to move to higher ground. A Flash Flood could occur without warning.

o Flood Warning – Flooding is occurring, or will occur soon. If advised to evacuate, do so immediately.

o Flash Flood Warning – A flash flood is occurring. Seek higher ground immediately and stay away from streams and creeks.

• If you ever encounter flood waters NEVER attempt to walk or drive through them (http://www.weather.gov/os/water/tadd/).

• Monitor Media reports.

• Ask local officials whether your property is in a flood-prone or high-risk area. Flood plain maps are available at most town offices or city halls.

• Know your community’s methods to warn you, if evacuation is necessary. Listen to local and state Public Safety officials and respond to their directives in a prompt manner.

• Know your best flood evacuation routes, potential Public Shelters, and where to find high ground. In a flash flood, you may need to seek high ground on foot quickly.

• Test your sump pumps. If possible, have a backup power source.

• Install ‘check valves’ in sewer traps to prevent floodwater from backing up into the drains in your home.

• Ensure your home is ready. Where possible, minimize damage from basement flooding by elevating utilities and materials that could be damaged by limited basement flooding.

• Anchor fuel tanks to ensure that they do not wash away, creating a safety and environmental issue inside or outside the home.

• Develop a Family Emergency Kit.

• Make a Family Communication Plan. Designate an out of state relative as a central point of contact.

• Learn your community’s Emergency Plans.

• When necessary and possible, construct barriers such as levees, berms, and floodwalls to stop floodwater from entering your home or building. Permission to construct such barriers may be required by local building codes. Check local building codes and ordinances for safety requirements.

• Bring in children’s toys, patio and lawn furniture, and lawn mowers/snow blowers indoors or to higher ground if flooding is pending.

• Be prepared to turn off electrical power when there is standing water, fallen power lines, or before you evacuate. Know how to safely turn off gas and water supplies before you evacuate.

• You may need to store materials like sandbags, plywood, plastic sheeting and lumber to protect your house from floodwaters and to make quick repairs after a severe storm.

• Contact your insurance agent or local government to discuss flood insurance coverage. Flood losses are not covered under regular homeowner’s insurance policies. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) administers the National Flood Insurance Plan (NFIP) through the Federal Insurance Administration (FIA). The NFIP makes flood insurance available in communities that adopt and enforce ordinances to reduce flood damage.

• Contact your local Emergency Management office for more information on mitigation options to further reduce potential flood damage. Your local Emergency Management office may be able to provide additional resources and information regarding ways to reduce potential damage.

The following represent some of the key websites to assist you and your family during times of flooding and type of emergency:

http://www.weather.gov/btv

http://www.vemvt.com

http://www.floodsafety.noaa.gov/

http://www.FloodSmart.gov/noaafloodweek

http://www.fema.gov/hazard/flood/index.shtm

http://www.ready.gov

Media can contact the National Weather Service in Burlington at 862-8711, or Vermont Emergency Management at 800-347-0488 for more information.

Source: Vermont Emergency Management
Last Updated at: March 17, 2009 08:28:00