Floods are the most common and widespread of all natural hazards.
Some floods develop over a period of days, but
result in raging waters in just a few minutes.
Be aware of flood hazards, especially if you live in a low-lying
area, near water or downstream from a dam.
What to do before a flood?
Know the terms used to describe flooding:
FLOOD WATCH - Flooding is possible.
Stay tuned to NOAA radio or commercial radio or television for
FLASH FLOOD WATCH - Flash flooding is possible.
Move to higher ground.
A flash flood could occur without any warning.
Listen to NOAA radio or commercial radio or television for
FLOOD WARNING - Flooding is occurring or will occur soon.
If advised to evacuate, do so immediately.
FLASH FLOOD WARNING - A flash flood is occurring.
Seek higher ground on foot immediately.
URBAN AND SMALL STREAM ADVISORY - Flooding of small streams,
streets and low-lying areas is occurring.
Learn the elevation level of your property.
This will help you know how your property will be affected when
flood levels are forecasted.
Purchase a NOAA weather radio with battery backup
and a tone-alert feature which automatically alerts you when
a Watch or
Warning is issued.
Be prepared to evacuate.
Plan a place to meet your family in case you are separated from
one another in a disaster and cannot return home.
Choose an out-of-state contact for everyone to call to say they
Determine how you would care for family members who may live
elsewhere but might need your help in a flood.
Determine any special needs your neighbors might have.
Assemble a disaster supplies kit.
Include a battery-operated radio, flashlights and extra
batteries, first aid supplies, sleeping supplies and clothing.
Know how to shut off electricity, gas and water at main switches
Consider purchasing flood insurance.
Flood losses are not covered under homeowners' insurance policies.
Consider options for flood proofing your home.
Make a record of your personal property.
What to do during heavy rains?
Be aware of flash floods.
If there is any possibility of a flash flood occurring, move
immediately to higher ground.
Listen to radio or television stations for local information.
Be aware of streams, drainage channels and areas known to flood
Secure your home.
If you have time, bring outdoor garden equipment and lawn
furniture inside or tie it down.
Move essential items to the upper floors of your house.
If instructed, turn off utilities at the main switches or valves.
Fill your car with fuel.
Sterilize the bathtub, then
fill the bathtub with water in case water becomes contaminated or
services are cut off.
Stay away from flood waters.
They could be contaminated.
Do now walk through moving water.
Six inches of moving water can knock you off your feet.
If you must walk in a flooded area, walk where the water is not
Use a stick to check the firmness of the ground in front of you.
Do not drive into flooded areas.
If flood waters rise around your car, abandon the car and move to
higher ground, if you can do so safely.
You and your vehicle can be quickly swept away as flood waters
What to do after a flood?
Stay away from flood waters.
The water may be contaminated by oil, gasoline or raw sewage.
The water may also be electrically charged from underground or
downed power lines.
Stay away from moving water.
Moving water only six inches deep can sweep you off your feet.
Be aware of areas where flood waters have receded.
Roads may have weakened and could collapse under the weight of a
Stay away from downed power lines and report them to the power
Stay away from disaster areas unless authorities ask for
Continue listening to a battery-powered radio for information
about where to get assistance for housing, clothing and food.
Consider your family's health and safety needs.
Wash your hands frequently with soap and clean water if you come
in contact with flood waters.
Throw away food that has come in contact with flood waters.
Listen for news reports to learn whether the community's water
supply is safe to drink.
Contact your insurance agent.
City-Parish of Lafayette, Office of Emergency
Preparedness, Lafayette, Louisiana