are an inevitable and natural part of life in Wisconsin, especially
for those who live along streams and rivers. Counties that
border the Mississippi and the Wisconsin rivers are the most
flood prone, but serious floods have occurred throughout the
state. It is important to be prepared and know what to do
before disaster strikes.
out if you live in a flood prone area. If you are new
to the area, ask your local public works or emergency government
office about local flood history. Ask whether your property
is above or below the flood stage water level.
you live in a frequently flooded area, stockpile emergency
building materials. These include plywood, plastic sheeting,
lumber, nails, hammer, saw, pry bar, shovels and sandbags.
and practice an evacuation route. Contact your local
emergency government office or local American Red Cross
chapter for a copy of the community flood evacuation plan.
This plan should include information on the safest routes
to shelters. Individuals living in flash flood areas should
have several alternate routes to higher ground.
emergency supplies on hand.
and extra batteries
battery-operated radio and extra batteries
kit and manual; essential medicines
food, water, cooking equipment, can opener
and credit cards
an emergency communication plan. In case family members
are separated during a disaster because of work or school,
choose a long-distance relative or friend who can serve
as the "family contact." After a disaster, it
is often easier to call long-distance than to place a local
call. Make sure everyone in the family knows the name, address
and phone number of the contact person.
sure that all family members know how to respond after a
flood or flash flood. Teach family members how to turn
off gas, electricity and water; local authorities may request
that you do so during a flood. Teach children how and when
to call 911, police and fire, and which radio station to
tune to for emergency information.
the car fueled. Stations may not be able to operate
because of lack of electricity.
about the National Flood Insurance Program. Most Wisconsin
communities participate in this program, which offers residents
flood insurance. (See the fact sheet "Insurance Coverage
and Making a Claim.") Regular homeowner's insurance
does not cover flood damage.
to the radio for further information.
bathtubs, sinks and jugs with clean water in case water
outdoor belongings, such as patio furniture, indoors.
valuable household possessions to the upper floors or to
safe ground if time permits.
you are instructed by authorities, turn off all utilities
at the main power switch and close the main gas valve.
with neighbors and volunteers to put sandbags or other protection
in place. Stack sandbags away from the outside walls
of houses to prevent floodwaters from entering.
not attempt to walk through moving floodwaters. If they
are moving fast enough, water one foot deep can sweep you
off your feet.
not attempt to drive over a flooded road. Turn around
and go another way.
to the radio for evacuation instructions. If advised
to evacuate, do so immediately. Evacuation is much simpler
and safer before floodwaters become too deep for ordinary
vehicles to drive through.
recommended evacuation routes - shortcuts may be blocked.
return home until authorities have indicated it is safe. When
entering buildings, use extreme caution. Potential hazards include:
leaks. Leave your home immediately and call the gas company
if you smell the putrid odor of leaking gas. Lanterns, torches,
electrical sparks and cigarettes could cause an explosive
fire if there is a leak. Do not turn on any light switches.
Wear rubber gloves and rubber-soled shoes to avoid electrocution.
Do not turn on any lights or appliances if the house has
been flooded. Turn off the electricity when checking electrical
circuits and equipment or when checking a flooded basement.
damage. Watch for falling debris and the possibility of
collapsing ceilings and basement walls.
and water. Do not use water or eat food that has come in
contact with floodwaters.
Your local emergency government office, the American Red Cross, your county Extension office, the Wisconsin Division of Emergency Government, the Federal Emergency Management Agency
"Flood Awareness," Wisconsin Division of Emergency Government, 1991.
Disclaimer and Reproduction Information: Information in
NASD does not represent NIOSH policy. Information included in
NASD appears by permission of the author and/or copyright holder.