March 16-20 Is Flood Safety Awareness Week


March 16, 2009
OPA 06909

News Highlights  

  • Flooding is the number one natural disaster in the United States.
  • Safety tips can protect you and your family if there is a flood.

More Information 

March 16-20 is Flood Safety Awareness Week. Flooding is the most frequent severe weather threat and costliest natural disaster in the U.S. Ninety percent of the country’s natural disasters involve flooding.

Regional weather systems, hurricanes and tropical storms, runoff changes from new construction or damage caused by wildfires can precipitate flooding in every region of the country. Thirty percent of all claims come from areas with a low-to-moderate risk of flooding. And, the majority of residents in those areas do not have flood insurance.

The Fairfax County Office of Emergency Management encourages residents to be prepared:

  • Talk to your insurance provider about your policy to evaluate whether you need additional coverage. Typically, property insurance does not cover flood damage.

  • Get a kit of emergency supplies and prepare a portable kit in case you have to evacuate.

  • Familiarize yourself with the terms that identify a flooding hazard.

    • A flood watch or flash flood watch means there is a possibility of flooding or a flash flood in your area.
    • A flood warning means a flood is occurring or will likely occur soon. If you are advised to evacuate, do so immediately.
    • A flash flood warning means a flash flood is occurring. Seek higher ground immediately; do not wait for instructions.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the National Flood Insurance Program are partnering with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and National Weather Service to provide important information about steps to protect yourself and your family.

If you are caught in a flood:

  • Go to higher ground. Get out of areas subject to flooding, including dips, low spots, etc.

  • If water rises in your home before you evacuate, go to the top floor, attic or roof.

  • Turn off all utilities at the main power switch and close the main gas valve if advised to do so.

  • Avoid areas already flooded, especially when water flows fast. Do not attempt to cross flowing streams. Just 6 inches of moving water can knock you off your feet.

  • Never drive through flooded roadways. Roadbeds may be washed out under flood waters — 2 feet of moving water can sweep an SUV off the road.

  • Listen to a battery-operated radio for the latest storm information.

  • If you’ve come in contact with floodwaters, wash your hands with soap and disinfected water.

Learn more about flooding and preparedness can be found online.

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703-324-3189, TTY 711, Media Pager: 703-324-NEWS (6397)
publicaffairs@fairfaxcounty.gov
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