What to Do in Specific Emergency Situations
Floods are considered the most common of all natural disasters and occur throughout the United States. Floods can be caused, not only by rain-swollen rivers and streams, but also by broken dams, levees, or water mains. Property damage due to flooding totals over $1 billion annually. Some floods occur rapidly, like flash floods, while others develop slowly. Keep the following points in mind when dealing with a flood emergency:
- Stay out of the water. Do not attempt to swim or wade to safety. Wait for the water to recede, or for rescue. Most deaths during floods occur from people walking or driving
through flood waters. Floodwater hazards include:
- Environmental and biological dangers that may contaminate the water such as oil, gasoline, other hazardous chemicals, and raw sewage.
- Downed power lines can electrify water in flooded streets, and even in large
puddles. Additionally, water collecting in your home—such as a flooded basement— can also become electrified and pose a serious danger.
- Strong currents and submerged debris may exist in the floodwaters.
Six inches of moving water can knock you off your feet. If you must walk in a flooded area, walk where the water is not moving. Use a stick to check the firmness of the ground in front of you.
- If you can do so safely, turn off electricity at the breaker before water enters your facility. If you did not get the electricity turned off before the water entered, do not turn it off. Get out of the water.
- Move valuables and emergency supplies to high interior areas of the facility.
- Wait for help.
- Be aware of streams, drainage channels, canyons and other areas known to flood suddenly. Flash floods can occur in these areas with or without such typical warning signs as rain clouds or heavy rain.
Bus and Van: If there is a possibility of flash flood, move immediately to higher ground.
- Bus and Van: Know of community evacuation routes. Use only routes recommended by local authorities.
- Bus and Van: Do not drive into flooded areas. A foot of water will float many vehicles. Two feet of water will wash away almost all vehicles. If flood waters begin to rise around your vehicle, abandon it and move to higher ground, if you can do so safely. You and your vehicle can be quickly swept away as floodwaters rise.
- Bus and Van: Recognize areas where floodwaters have receded, possibly
weakening roads which could collapse under the weight of the vehicle.
Rail: Do not operate on a submerged right-of-way. If flooding is visible, stop operations and notify your control center.
- Rail: Be observant for potential damage to bridges and/or other parts of the right-of-way. If you notice something, bring train to a safe stop and notify the control center immediately.