How to Survive a Natural Disaster Floods and Hurricanes

About how to survive a natural disaster, specifically information about hurricane and flood survival.

How to Survive a Disaster



How to Prepare. If you are warned to evacuate your home or move to another location, do so promptly and follow the instructions given by the local authorities. If certain travel routes are specified or recommended, use those routes rather than trying to find shortcuts on your own. If you are told to turn off your water, gas, or electric service, do so before leaving the house. Find out on the radio where emergency housing and mass feeding stations are located in case you need to use them.

If you have time before leaving, you should also take the following actions:

* Bring outside possessions inside the house, or tie them down securely. This includes outdoor furniture, garbage cans, garden tools, signs, and other movable objects that might be blown or washed away.

* Board your windows so that they won't be broken by high winds, water, flying objects, or debris.

* If flooding is likely, move furniture and other movable objects to the upper floor of your house. Disconnect any electrical appliances or equipment that cannot be moved, but don't touch them if you are wet or are standing in water.

* Do not stack sandbags around the outside walls of your house to keep flood waters out of your basement. Water seeping down through the earth may collect around the basement walls and under the floor, creating pressure that could damage the walls or else raise the entire basement and cause it to "float" out of the ground.

* Lock house doors and windows. Park your car in the garage or driveway, close the windows, and lock it (unless you are driving to your new temporary location).

* Travel with care. Leave early enough so as not to be marooned by flooded roads, fallen trees, or wires. Make sure you have enough gasoline in your car. Follow recommended routes. Keep listening to the radio for additional information. Watch for washed-out or undermined roadways, earth slides, broken sewer or water mains, loose or downed electrical wires, and fallen or falling objects. Watch out for areas where rivers or streams may flood suddenly. Don't try to cross a stream or a pool of water unless you are certain that the water will not be above your knees all the way across. Sometimes the water will hide a bridge or a part of the road that has been washed out. If you decide it is safe to drive across, put your car in low gear and drive very slowly, to avoid splashing water into your engine and causing it to stop. Remember that your brakes may not work well after the wheels of your car have been in deep water. Try them out a few times when you reach the other side.

During the Disaster. If your house is on high ground when a hurricane strikes, and you haven't been instructed to evacuate, stay indoors. Don't try to travel, since you will be in danger from flying debris, flooded roads, and downed wires. Keep listening to your radio or television set for further information. If the center, or "eye," of the hurricane passes directly over you, there will be a temporary lull in the wind, lasting from a few minutes to perhaps a half hour or more. Stay in a safe place during this lull. The wind will return--perhaps with even greater force--from the opposite direction.

In many areas, unusually heavy rains may cause quick, or flash, floods. Small creeks, gullies, dry streambeds, etc., frequently flood very quickly and endanger people, sometimes before any warning can be given. If you see any possibility of a flash flood occurring where you are, move immediately to a safer location (don't wait for instructions to move), and then notify your local authorities of the danger, so other people can be warned.

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