Floods: If All Else Fails, Evacuate

Floods February 08, 2013 Print Friendly and PDF

Lesson Index

If All Else Fails, Evacuate

Protecting lives is most important

Protecting lives is number one.

In flash floods or when waters are rapidly rising, the best and only plan may be to evacuate people safely. Local emergency managers and planners must be involved in these types of plans, especially if evacuation routes go through flood-prone areas and jeopardize evacuees. Work with local emergency managers to develop guidelines to determine when it’s time to move people out.

Develop plans for rescuing workers who may be trapped in the facility. People often become trapped in their homes or other buildings because they keep going to higher floors to avoid floodwaters. Make sure employees know how to stay safe. Provide communication equipment that will work when power is out, so employees can call for help if they become trapped.

Don’t allow employees to risk their lives rushing to the rescue. Constantly remind employees that safety is first. During flash floods, once-gentle creeks can sweep people away. The force of water is very powerful and can move tons of soil. Don’t ever try to drive through floodwaters. Only a foot of water can float most vehicles and two feet of moving water can sweep a truck off the road.

In a recent flood, an employee drove across a flooded road to take the shortest route to work. Water less than six inches deep swept his pickup off the road and into a raging creek. His body was found under a bridge after the floodwaters receded. No equipment is worth a life.

Avoid the situation

Avoid the situation that one policeman found himself in:

"We tried to rescue a person who was swept into a fast flowing, flooded creek. We formed a human rescue line by grabbing hands, but we were still a few feet too short to reach him as he went by. Who would have thought, in our flat little town, that a flotation device on a rope would have saved a life?"





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