Tuesday, April 29, 2014 – Flooding Safety Reminders
Over the next couple of days, the area is predicted to receive several inches of rain. The Lexington and Rockbridge County, Offices of Emergency Management, wish to remind citizens of a few safety precautions.
• When a flood watch is issued, be prepared to act quickly and move to higher ground if required.
• Move your furniture and valuables to higher floors of your home. Higher floors are less likely to receive damage from rising waters.
• Put important family documents in a waterproof container. This will keep them from being damaged in a flood.
• Make ready your pre-assembled emergency supply kit.
• Fill your vehicle fuel tank, in case an evacuation notice is issued. If the public electricity is out, gas stations will not be able to operate their fuel pumps, this outage possibly lasting for several days.
• Be alert to signs of flooding. If the flood waters are threatening your home, IMMEDIATELY evacuate. Time is of essence, quickly move to higher ground.
• Follow recommended evacuation routes. Shortcuts or alternate routes may be blocked or damaged by flood waters.
Driving During Flooding Conditions
Many deaths occur in automobiles as people and their vehicles are swept downstream. The majority of those drowning accidents are preventable. But, too many people continue to drive around barriers that warn of the flooded roadways. Whether you are driving or walking, if you come to a flooded road, STOP and DO NOT cross the waterway. With water across the roadway, you cannot determine the depth of the water nor the condition of the road beneath that water. Six inches of moving water will sweep a person from their feet; a mere two-feet of water will move a large vehicle, such as a bus.
• If you are driving and come upon rapidly rising waters, turn around and find an alternate route. The depth of the water will not be obvious and roadways may be washed out beneath the flood waters. During flash flood conditions, a roadway covered by six inches of water can rapidly rise to the level of two to three feet in only seconds.
• If your vehicle is suddenly caught in rising water, immediately abandon the vehicle and quickly make your way to higher ground. Nearly half of all flash flood fatalities are vehicle related.
Flash flooding can develop within minutes depending upon the intensity and duration of the rain, the land topography, the soil conditions, and the available ground cover. Flash floods can move boulders, uproot trees, destroy buildings and bridges, and scour out new and deep channels.
• Never approach flooded areas, move to higher ground.
• Stay alert to rapidly changing conditions.
• Stay informed by tuning to local media.
Disaster Supply Kit
Prior to a disaster, the recommendation is for individuals and families to assemble a disaster supply kit. These kits should contain a minimum of the following items:
• Water – one gallon, per person, per day
• Food – enough to sustain each person
• First Aid Supplies
• Clothing and Bedding
• Special Items – such as medications, pet food, comfort supplies
Keep your supplies in an easy-to-carry container. Possible containers include a large, covered trash can, a camping backpack or a duffle bag.
Remember, flooding is not your only concern. The temperature during this event is cool. If you’re displaced from shelter and wet from the rain, hypothermia will quickly over-take you. Hypothermia is a deadly condition.
Below is a list of sources that you can use to stay informed throughout the event:
• Alert Rockbridge
• Buena Vista, Lexington, and Rockbridge County Websites
• Twitter Accounts for Rockbridge Emergency Management and Lexington FD
• Facebook pages for Lexington FD and Rockbridge Co. Fire, EMS, and Emergency Management
• Radio: 3WZ 96.7 FM and WREL 1450 AM
• The News-Gazette
• Nat. Weather Service, Blacksburg
Stay dry, remain warm and sheltered, and keep aware of your situation… and please keep safe.