Stay safe during flood events
With the rising level of the Mermentau River causing high waters and flooding in many areas of Jeff Davis and Acadia parishes, the Louisiana Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (LHSEP) is offering the following safety tips for residents who are affected by the floodwaters.
• Do not walk through flowing water. Drowning is the number one cause of flood deaths. Most occur during flash floods. Six inches of moving water can knock you off your feet. Use a pole or stick to make sure that the ground is still there before you go through an area where the water is not flowing.
• Do not drive through a flooded area. More people drown in their cars than anywhere else. Don’t drive around road barriers because the road or bridge may be washed out.
• Stay away from power lines and electrical wires. Electrocution is also a major killer in floods. Electrical current can travel through water. Report downed power lines to your utility company or local emergency manager.
• Turn off your electricity at your home when floodwaters are present. Some appliances, such as television sets, can shock you even after they have been unplugged. Don’t use appliances or motors that have gotten wet unless they have been taken apart, cleaned, and dried.
• Watch for animals – especially snakes. Small animals that have been flooded out of their homes may seek shelter in yours. Use a pole or stick to poke and turn items over and scare away small animals.
• Look before you step. After a flood, the ground and floors are covered with debris including broken bottles and nails. Floors and stairs that have been covered with mud can be very slippery.
• Be alert for gas leaks. Use a flashlight to inspect for damage. Don’t smoke or use candles, lanterns, or open flames unless you are sure that the gas has been turned off and the area has been aired out.
• Remember that carbon monoxide exhaust kills. Use a generator or other gasoline-powered machine outdoors. The same goes for camping stoves. Fumes from charcoal are especially deadly, so cook with charcoal only when outdoors.
• You should clean everything that got wet in the household. Floodwaters can pick up sewage and chemicals from roads, farms, factories and storage buildings. Spoiled food and flooded cosmetics and medicines are health hazards. When in doubt, throw them out.
Remember that recovering from a flood is a big job. It is tough on both the body and the spirit. And the effects a disaster has on you and your family may last a long time. Learn how to recognize and care for anxiety, stress, and fatigue.
For more information on how to protect your loved ones and your property during flooding, visit LHSEP’s website at http://www.gohsep.la.gov.
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