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Flood Safety

The 49th Fighter Wing Safety Office offered the following advice to prevent mishaps due to flooding in the local area:

· Never try to walk or swim through rapidly moving water.

· Never try to cross water in a vehicle, whether it is moving or not.

· If the vehicle stalls, abandon it immediately and seek higher ground. Rapidly rising water may engulf the vehicle and its occupants and sweep them away.

· Be especially cautious at night when it is harder to recognize flood dangers.

· Walking or playing around flood waters is dangerous; you can be knocked from your feet in water only six inches deep!

· Use a pole or stick to make sure that the ground is still there before you go through an area where the water is not flowing.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency also offered tips on flood safety:

· Make sure gutters and drains are cleared. Clean and maintain storm drains and gutters and remove debris from your property to allow free flow of potential floodwater.

· Move valuables and sentimental items to the highest floor of your home or business.

· Install backflow valves in waste lines to keep water flowing in one direction.
· Protect your well from contamination.

· Anchor or elevate fuel tanks and elevate the main breaker or fuse box and the utility meters above the anticipated flood level in your home or business, so that floodwater won't damage utilities.

· Make sure you have the right insurance: Review your insurance policies and find out what they do and do not cover. Learn the difference between replacement cost coverage versus standard coverage, which only pays the actual cash value of insured property. Be sure that you have enough insurance to cover recent home renovations or improvements.

· Know that most homeowners insurance policies do not cover flood damage, so be sure to consider flood insurance for both your structure and its contents. There is typically a 30 day waiting period for a flood insurance policy to take effect. Learn more by visiting FloodSmart.gov and www.Fema.gov.

· Learn your flood risk. Properties that are not located within high-risk areas can also flood. Find out your flood risk right now by entering your address at FloodSmart.gov "Assess Your Risk." Insurance agents can also help check your risk.

· Purchase a flood insurance policy. If you already have a flood policy, remember: your policy needs to be renewed each year.

· Plan and practice a flood evacuation route, ask someone out of state to be your "family contact" in an emergency, and make sure everyone knows the contact's address and phone number.

· Build an emergency supply kit: Food, bottled water, first aid supplies, medicines, and a battery-operated radio should be ready to go when you are. Visit www.ready.gov for a complete disaster supply checklist.

· Inventory your household possessions: For insurance purposes, be sure to keep a written and visual (i.e., videotaped or photographed) record of all major household items and valuables, even those stored in basements, attics or garages. Create files that include serial numbers and store receipts for major appliances and electronics. Have jewelry and artwork appraised. These documents are critically important when filing insurance claims.

· Store copies of irreplaceable financial and family documents in a safe place, preferably one that is protected from both fire and water. Documents include automobile titles, tax records, stock and bond certificates, deeds, wills, trust agreements, birth and marriage certificates, photos, passports and insurance policies. Keep originals in a rented safe deposit box. And don't forget the household inventory file!

This information on this factsheet was compiled from the 49th Fighter Wing Safety Office and the official FEMA Web site. For more information, contact the 49th FW Safety Office at 575-572-3793.