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Prolonged or heavy rainfall may cause severe flooding which could result in scattered debris, uprooted trees, and downed or broken utility lines in almost any neighborhood. Water levels can rise quickly and pose a hazard for people and pets. The rule for being safe is simple: climb to safety and stay away from the water. Even a shallow depth of fast moving floodwater produces more force than most people imagine. The most dangerous thing you can do is to try walking, swimming or driving through swift water. Flood mitigation to your home can result in significantly less structural and content damage. Residents of Palm Beach County should discuss the advantages of flood insurance with their insurance agent.
Before a Flood Occurs
- Have at least a 5 to 7 day Disaster Supplies Kit assembled.
- Purchase a NOAA Weather Radio to monitor severe weather.
- If you do not have a weather radio, stay tuned to local radio or television stations.
- Know the early warning systems available in Palm Beach County.
- Learn the warning terms for possible flooding so that you clearly understand the risk to your family and your community.
- “Flash Flood Watch” or “Flood Watch" means to be alert to signs of flash flooding and be ready to evacuate on a moment’s notice.
- “Flash Flood Warning” means a flash flood is imminent – act quickly to save yourself because you may have only seconds.
- “Flood Warning” means flooding has been reported or is imminent - take the necessary precautions at once.
- Create an evacuation plan.
- If you live in a high-risk flood area, purchase a flood insurance policy.
- Most homeowners are not covered by flood insurance. If you feel you are at risk, you should check with your insurance agent.
During a Flood
- Avoid areas subject to sudden flooding.
- Stay on firm ground. Do not try to walk across moving water more than 6 inches deep;
even 6 inches of rapidly running water can sweep you off your feet.
- Do not drive into flooded areas. If your car stalls, abandon it immediately and seek higher ground if possible.
- Never attempt to move a stalled vehicle in flood conditions. It can be fatal.
- Avoid downed power lines and broken gas lines.
- Do not allow children to play in and around ditches or canals.
- Climb to safety.
- Stay away from underpasses.
- Tune to local radio or television stations for emergency advisories and instructions.
- If you are asked to leave your property, disconnect all electrical appliances.
- Never leave your pet tied up.
Returning to Your Home after a Flood
- Contact your insurance agent to discuss claims.
- Do not turn on electricity if you smell gas, or if the electrical system has been flooded.
- Wear sturdy work boots and gloves.
- Do not handle electrical equipment in wet areas.
- Use flashlights, versus open flames to check buildings containing natural gas, propane, or gasoline.
- Follow directions from local authorities regarding the safety of drinking water.
- Clean and disinfect everything that was touched by floodwaters and dispose of any food that came in contact with floodwaters.
- If you hire a contractor, be sure they are qualified to do the job. Be wary of people who drive through the neighborhood offering help in cleaning up or repairing your home. Check references and licenses.
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