Flood Safety Tips From MEMA
With the expected weather this weekend, the Maine Emergency Management Agency has issued some tips on staying safe in the case of flooding.
It's going to be a wild weekend, with warm temperatures today accompanied by rain causing plenty of melting. That will be followed by freezing rain, sleet, and snow depending on where in the state you're located. So officials with MEMA are concerned about the potential for flooding and keeping everyone safe. Here's what they suggest:
- Never drive a car into a flooded roadway, since you can't see what's beneath the water, like a possible washout. Remember to 'turn around, don't drown.'
- Stay away from streams during flooding. Swiftly moving water is extremely powerful and can easily overpower a person or vehicle.
- Keep children and pets inside and away from flooded streets, culverts, and streams.
- Report any flooding to the appropriate authorities
- Obey road blocks and barriers, even if the flooding has receded. Flood waters may have undercut the road surface or left dangerous debris in the roadway.
- If you live or work in a flood-prone area, have an evacuation route planned out and use it if advised to leave
Another issue could be flooding in the basement. This can be extremely dangerous if the proper precautions aren't followed. Again, here's what MEMA suggests:
- Shut off any power around the area, including electricity and gas. Never enter a flooded area when the power is on. If you're not sure how to shut down the power, contact a qualified electrician before venturing into the water.
- Unless the water is caused by rainfall, act as soon as you notice flooding. If rain or storm water is the cause for the flood, wait until it's passed before getting to work.
- Wear boots and gloves for protection. Wearing a mask is also an option, as are hip or chest waders. Take care when walking and moving around the flooded area since there will possibly be slipping hazards.
- Determine the source of the water. If it's a burst pipe, shut off the water to the basement.
- If your basement has a floor drain, clear away any clogs caused by the flood, and keep it open and functioning.
- Start removing water from the basement, using a sump pump, pool pump, a wet/dry vac, or, of course, a mop and bucket.
Temperatures will fall Friday night, changing that precipitation over to sleet and freezing rain, so drivers are reminded to keep an eye on the forecast and be ready for changing conditions as they travel across the state. Mainers can receive Citizen Alerts by signing up at MEMA's website. FEMA also offers a free smartphone app that allows users to subscribe to weather alerts and preparedness information.