Flood Preparedness

Floods, Flash Floods Can Happen Anytime, Anywhere

Floods are the most common and widespread of all-natural disasters, except fire. In Georgia, most communities experience some kind of flooding after spring rains or heavy thunderstorms. Floods can be slow or fast rising but generally, develop over a period of days. Dam failures are potentially the worst flood events. When a dam fails, a gigantic quantity of water is suddenly let loose downstream, destroying anything in its path.

Flash floods usually result from intense storms dropping large amounts of rain within a brief period. They occur with little or no warning and can reach full peak in only a few minutes. Communities particularly at risk are those located in low-lying areas, near water, or downstream from a dam,” says Ware County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) Director Jonathan Daniell.

Here is some information to help you develop a plan and be ready to act before the possibility of a flood or flash flood threatens you or your family:

Know What to Expect

  • Know your area’s flood risk–if unsure, call your local emergency management agency office, planning and zoning department or local Red Cross chapter .
  • If it has been raining hard for several hours, or steadily raining for several days, be alert to the possibility of a flood.
  • Closely monitor a local radio station, TV station or NOAA Weather Radio 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 Days 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

  • Go to www.warecounty.com, www.waycrossga.com, www.yourwarelocal.com and sign up for Code Red the free emergency notification system for the citizens of Waycross and Ware County.
  • 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.

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.

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

  • Closely monitor NOAA Weather Radio, local radio or television for the latest weather forecasts.
  • If told to evacuate, do so immediately!
  • 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.

For more information, contact Ware County EMA at 287-4394, Georgia Emergency Management Agency at 1-800-TRY-GEMA or visit these Web sites: www.gema.state.ga.us, www.srh.noaa.gov/ffc, www.warecitizencorps.com or www.redcross.org.