High Water? High Risk!

Sadly many friends and neighbors in the Flathead are already experiencing ponding or even flooding near their properties and even inside their homes or workplaces. Today, the start of National Flood Safety Awareness Week, seems like a great time to review some ‘Do’s and Don’ts’ of flood safety.

Flood Awareness Week snip

Share this information with other family members and co-workers. Anyone can suddenly find themselves face-to-face with a flooding event, particularly while driving or walking near a stream or river in Montana.

People get electrocuted each year while attempting to pump water from a flooded basement. You should assume that high water equals high risk at home or while traveling. Pause, use careful judgement or get help when water rises! Never risk your life to save ‘stuff’. No property is worth losing one’s life over and belongings can be replaced.

Flathead County Emergency Service officials rank severe flooding at the top of the most likely natural risk scenarios area residents might face during any year.

Each year nationally more deaths will occur due to flooding than from any other severe weather related hazard. The Centers for Disease Control report that over half of all flood-related drownings occur when a vehicle is driven into hazardous flood water. The next highest percentage of flood-related deaths is due to walking into or near flood waters. Why? The main reason is people underestimate the incredible force and power of water. Many of the deaths occur in automobiles swept downstream. Of these drownings, most are preventable. Still too many people foolishly drive around barriers that warn the road ahead is flooded.

What Can I Do to Avoid Getting Caught is This Situation?

Most flood-related deaths and injuries would be avoided if people who come upon areas covered with water followed this simple advice: Turn Around Don’t Drown®.

Respect the incredible power of water. A mere six inches of swiftly flowing flood water can knock over an adult. It takes only two feet of rushing water to carry away most vehicles. This includes pickups and SUVs. Four wheel drive won’t assist once the vehicle is floated.

If you come to an area that is covered with water, you will not know the depth of the water or the condition of the ground under the water. This is especially true at night, when your vision is more limited.

Play it smart, play it safe. Whether driving or walking, any time you come to a flooded road, Turn Around Don’t Drown®Turn around sign

Follow these safety rules:

  • Monitor the NOAA Weather Radio, or your favorite local news source for vital weather related information.
  • If flooding occurs, get to higher ground. Get out of areas subject to flooding. This includes dips, low spots, canyons, washes etc.
  • Avoid areas already flooded, especially if the water is flowing fast. Do not attempt to cross flowing streams. Turn Around Don’t Drown®
  • Road beds may be washed out under flood waters. NEVER drive through flooded roadways.Turn Around Don’t Drown®
  • Do not camp or park your vehicle along streams and washes, particularly during threatening conditions.
  • Be especially cautious at night when it is harder to recognize flood dangers.
  • Always call 911 first should there be threat to personal safety from flowing flood water entering a home or other structure! Again, never risk your life to save personal property. Property, furnishings, ‘stuff’ can be replaced.

After a home flooding event, professionals like those on the staff at Floodco, LLC can give you advice and fast response dealing with your water damage issues.

We invite you to tell us of an experience with high water or flooding. Please write your comments here. We believe everyone can learn something from shared experiences!