Flooding occurs in known floodplains when prolonged rainfall over several days, intense rainfall over a short period of time,
or an ice or debris jam causes a river or stream to overflow and flood the surrounding area. Melting snow can combine with rain in the winter and early spring; severe thunderstorms
can bring heavy rain in the spring and summer; or tropical cyclones can bring intense rainfall to the coastal and inland states in the summer and fall.
Flash floods occur within six hours of a rain event, or after a dam or levee failure, or following a sudden release of water
held by an ice or debris jam, and flash floods can catch people unprepared. You will not always have a warning that these deadly, sudden floods are coming. So if you live in
areas prone to flash floods, plan now to protect your family and property.
Floods are among the most frequent and costly natural disasters in terms of human hardship and economic loss. As
much as 90 percent of the damage related to all natural disasters (excluding droughts) is caused by floods and associated debris flows.
KNOW WHAT TO EXPECT
- Know your area's flood risk. If unsure, call American Red Cross of Rhode Island, emergency management office,
or planning and zoning department.
- If it has been raining hard for several hours, or steadily raining for several days, be alert to the possibility of a flood.
- Listen to local radio or TV stations for flood information.
REDUCE POTENTIAL FLOOD DAMAGE BY ...
- Raising your
furnace, water heater, and electric panel if they are in areas of your home that may be flooded.
- Consult with a professional for further information if this and other damage reduction measures can be taken.
FLOODS CAN TAKE SEVERAL HOURS TO DEVELOP
- A flood WATCH means a flood is possible in your area.
- A flood WARNING means flooding is already occurring or will occur soon in your area.
FLASH FLOODS CAN TAKE ONLY A FEW MINUTES TO A FEW HOURS TO DEVELOP
- A flash flood WATCH means flash flooding is possible in your area.
- A flash flood WARNING means a flash flood is occurring or will occur very soon.
PREPARE A FAMILY DISASTER PLAN
- Check to see if you have insurance that covers flooding. If not, find out how to get flood insurance.
- Keep insurance policies, documents, and other valuables in a safe-deposit box.
- CLICK HERE for Family Disaster Plan information.
ASSEMBLE A DISASTER SUPPLIES KIT CONTAINING ...
- First aid kit and essential medications.
- Canned food and can opener.
- At least three gallons of water per person
- Protective clothing, rainwear, and bedding or sleeping bags.
- Battery-powered radio, flashlight, and extra batteries.
- Special items for infants, elderly, or disabled family members.
- Written instructions for how to turn off electricity, gas and water if
authorities advise you to do so. (Remember, you'll need a professional to turn them back on.)
- Identify where you could go if told to evacuate. Choose several places . . . a friend's home in another town, a motel, or a shelter.
- CLICK HERE for Disaster Supplies Kit information.
WHEN A FLOOD WATCH IS ISSUED ...
- Move your furniture and valuables to higher floors of your home.
- Fill your car's gas tank, in case an evacuation notice is issued.
WHEN A FLOOD WARNING IS ISSUED ...
- Listen to local radio and TV stations for information and advice. If told to evacuate, do so as soon as possible.
WHEN A FLASH FLOOD WATCH IS ISSUED ...
- Be alert to signs of flash flooding and be ready to evacuate on a moment's notice.
WHEN A FLASH FLOOD WARNING IS ISSUED ...
- Or if you think it has already started, evacuate immediately. You may have only seconds to escape. Act quickly!
- Move to higher ground away from rivers, streams, creeks, and storm drains.
Do not drive around barricades... they are there for your safety.
- If your car stalls in rapidly rising waters, abandon it immediately and climb to higher ground.
ADDITIONAL MATERIALS AVAILABLE
The American Red Cross of Rhode Island can provide additional materials in English and Spanish:
- "Safe Living in Your Manufactured Home" (ARC 4465) gives fire, flood, and
tornado safety information for people who live in manufactured (mobile) homes.
- "Are You Ready for a Thunderstorm?" (ARC 5009)
- "Are You Ready for a Hurricane?" (ARC 4454)
- "Are You Ready for a Tornado?" (ARC 4457)
- "Avoiding Flood Damage" (ARC 1215)
- "Your Family Disaster Plan" (ARC 4466)
- "Your Family Disaster Supplies Kit" (ARC 4463)
- "Repairing Your Flooded Home" (ARC 4477, English, ARC 4477S, Spanish). This
is a 66-page book designed for homeowners who may engage in flood clean-up and repair of flood-damaged homes.
Materials for Children:
- "Disaster Preparedness Coloring Book" (PDF File) (ARC 2200, English, or ARC
2200S, Spanish (PDF File)) for use by children 3-10.
- "Adventures of the Disaster Dudes" (ARC 5024) video and Presenter's Guide for use by an adult with children in grades 4-6.
- "After the Flood" Coloring Book (ARC 2204, English, or ARC 2204S, Spanish).