03/19/13 While spring brings warmer weather and longer days to Indiana, it also comes with volatile weather that can increase the risk of floods. The National Weather Service, Indiana State Police, the Indiana Department of Transportation, and the Indiana Department of Homeland Security are encouraging Hoosiers to take the time during Flood Safety Awareness Week, March 18-22, to get ready for potential flooding.
There are several things individuals and families can do to prepare for flooding. The Indiana Department of Homeland Security (IDHS) encourages all Hoosiers develop a family emergency communications plan and put together a disaster preparedness kit. The kit should contain essential items your family needs to sustain itself for at least three days. When developing a family communications plan, make sure to include an out-of-state contact and meeting places in case the family becomes separated.
Floods can be very expensive, and purchasing flood insurance is one of the most cost-effective steps homeowners can take to protect their homes. FEMA’s FloodSmart website includes a tool to quickly estimate the cost of damages from various amounts of flood water in a home, as well as resources that can make a residence more flood resistant. Also conduct a home inventory of all valuables. An easy way to do this is with a home video camera or photographs. Thorough documentation of belongings can help when filing a flood insurance claim.
In your neighborhood
Some easy preventative yard work can help minimize the effects of flooding in your neighborhood. The Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) encourages citizens to help clear brush and other debris from storm water drains.
Without taking preventive measures, clogged or blocked drainage systems can lead to numerous problems. Poor drainage can cause potholes and slick driving conditions on public roads.
On the road
According to the National Weather Service, most flood related deaths happened while driving. Hoosiers are reminded to NOT drive around barricades at water crossings. They are there to protect the public.
“Disregarding warning signs and attempting to cross flooded roads endangers everyone in the vehicle, as well as the first responders who may need to come to the aid of those who are stranded,” said Captain Dave Bursten with the Indiana State Police.
Hoosiers should also keep the following in mind when encountering flooded roadways.
- Never attempt to cross a flooded road, even if it seems shallow. Water can conceal dips, or worse, flood waters can damage roadways, washing away the entire road surface and a significant amount of ground.
- Remember, just a few inches of moving water is enough to carry away most vehicles including SUVs and pick-up trucks.
- Be especially cautious at night when it is harder to recognize high water danger.