Page 19 - Living with Dams

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Living with Dams: Know Your Risk | April 2012
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Even if you feel you live in a community with a low risk of stream or river flooding, remember that anywhere it rains, it can flood.
Water releases from upstream dams can also cause flooding. Just because you haven’t experienced a flood in the past, doesn’t
mean you won’t in the future. Flood risk isn’t just based on history. It’s also based on a number of factors including the condition
of upstream dams, rainfall, topography, failure or mis-operation of manmade structures, flood-control measures, river-flow and
tidal-surge data, and changes in runoff patterns due to new construction and development.
What to Do Before a Flood
Be observant of rapidly changing conditions.
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Avoid building in a 100-year floodplain unless you elevate and flood proof your home.
Elevate the furnace, water heater and electric panel in your home if you live in an area that has a high flood risk.
Consider installing “check valves” to prevent flood water from backing up into the drains of your home.
If feasible, construct barriers to stop floodwater from entering the building and seal walls in basements with waterproofing
Study dam failure inundation maps to pre-plan your family’s or employees’ evacuation routes.
What to Do During a Flood or FloodWarning
Listen to the radio or television for information.
Be aware that dam failure or operational flooding can occur. If there is any possibility of a flood, move immediately to higher
ground. Do not wait for instructions to move.
Be aware of stream, drainage channels, canyons and other areas that may flood suddenly. Dam failure or operational floods
can occur in these areas with or without typical warnings such as rain clouds or heavy rain.
If you must prepare to evacuate, you should do the following:
Secure your home. If you have time, bring in outdoor furniture. Move essential items to an upper floor.
Turn off utilities at the main switches or valves if instructed to do so. Disconnect electrical appliances. Do not touch electrical
equipment if you are wet or standing in water.
If you have to leave your home, remember these evacuation tips:
Do not walk through moving water. Six inches of moving water can make you fall. If you have to walk in water, walk where the
water is not moving. Use a stick to check the firmness of the ground in front of you.
Do not drive into flooded areas. If floodwaters rise around your car, abandon the car and move to higher ground if you can do
so safely. You and the vehicle can be swept away quickly.
Do not camp or park your vehicle along streams, rivers or creeks, particularly during threatening conditions
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