Flooding is one of the major threats facing Virginia annually. FEMA has declared March as Flood Safety Awareness Month. VDEM will support this effort through the strategic deployment of a multi-media communications campaign outlined below. The effort will be sustained for five weeks comprising the month of March, and tools will be updated and placed on the VDEM website for use when an incident arises.
What You Need to know
- Floods are one of the most common hazards in the United States but not all floods are alike. Some floods develop slowly, while others, such as flash floods, can develop in just a few minutes and without visible signs of rain.
- Flooding is a nationwide hazard, so it’s important for everyone to understand their risk, take action, and prepare.
- According to the National Weather Service, in 2015, there were 176 flood fatalities in the United States and flooding caused approximately $1.8 billion in damages.
- Be aware of flood hazards no matter where you live or work, but especially if you are in low-lying areas, near water, behind a levee, or downstream from a dam. Even very small streams, gullies, creeks, culverts, dry streambeds or low-lying ground that appear harmless in dry weather can flood.
- Keep your family and property safe by following some of the key concepts below.
GET YOUR FAMILY READY FOR A FLOOD
- Listen to local TV or radio for weather watches and warnings.
- Do you know the difference in these terms? Learn them so you know the level of risk you face.
- Be ready to evacuate. Don’t return to your home until local officials say it is safe. Use common sense and caution.
- If you see water rising quickly or a moving wall of mud and debris, immediately move to higher ground.
- Do not walk through moving water. A small amount of moving water can easily knock you down.
- Remember that after a flood, it could be hours or days before emergency personnel are able to reach you.
KNOW THE ROAD CONDITIONS BEFORE YOU LEAVE
- The Virginia Department of Transportation offers the latest road reports and closures during a major flooding event. Know the road conditions before you leave.
- Check 511Virginia.org, or call 511 for real-time traffic information and road conditions.
- Remember, “Turn Around, Don’t Drown.” Do not drive into flooded areas. If your vehicle becomes surrounded by rising water, get out quickly and move to higher ground.
- Flood water might cut off access to roads. Be ready to stay where you are until floodwaters recede.
GET YOUR HOME READY FOR A FLOOD
- Homeowner’s insurance does not cover flood damage. About 25% of all flood claims come from outside of the floodplain, but only 4.3 percent of Virginia homes in those areas are covered by flood insurance. Find out more at FloodSmart.gov.
- Elevate the furnace, water heater, and electric panel in your home if you live in an area that has a high flood risk.
- Consider installing check valves to stop floodwater from backing up into the drains of your home.
- Unplug electrical appliances and move them to higher levels, if possible. Do not touch an electric appliance if you are wet or standing in water.
- Construct barriers to stop floodwater from entering the building, and seal walls in basements with waterproofing compounds.
- If time allows, bring in outside furniture and move your valuables to higher places in your home.
Want to learn more? Visit Ready.gov/floods.