What to do before, during, and after a flood in Utah

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Where it rains or snows, it can flood. In Utah it could be anywhere.

“We can’t say exactly where or when it will flood,” said Wade Mathews, public information officer for the Utah Division of Emergency Management. “We don’t know until it starts happening. So people have to be prepared.”

The Salt Lake Tribune has put together this guide to explain what you should do before, during and after a flood to protect yourself, your home or business, your family and pets, and your belongings.

Before flood:

1. Assess your flood risk • Salt Lake County is posting a map on its website that uses data from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to show flood risk across the county.

Property owners should refer to the map found here to see if their home or business is in one of the shaded blue areas.

You can also verify exact addresses with FEMA’s Flood Map Service Center by typing an address in the search box at the top of this page.

If you live under the mouth of a ravine that has a river or stream flowing out of it, or if you live under a burn scar from a fire that has burned in the past five years, your risk of flooding is higher, Mathews said.

2. Consider getting flood insurance • Experts say you can still experience flooding even if you’re outside of a high-risk flood area, and most homeowners’ insurance policies don’t cover flood damage.

Most flood insurance also takes 30 days to take effect, so act now to be covered when it matters most.

The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) works with more than 50 insurance companies to offer the same affordable rates and coverage for your buildings and property. Visit Floodsmart.gov to learn more about purchasing flood insurance through NFIP.

3. Create a communication plan with loved ones • Designate a specific person to contact for updates and a safe place to meet family members.

4. Put together an emergency kit • The Department of Public Safety says it’s a good idea to have enough food, water and medicine on hand for at least three days in case of an emergency.

Your kit should also include batteries, blankets, flashlights, a first aid kit, rubber boots, rubber gloves, and a battery-powered radio. If you have pets, remember to pack food, leashes, food and water bowls, and any medication they may need. Here are useful lists to use when putting together disaster kits for individuals, toddlers, and pets.

Mathews said that when putting together a disaster kit, remember to personalize it. “If there’s something you need to be happy, healthy and comfortable every day, make sure you have some in your kit,” he said, whether it’s a favorite piece of gum or games for the kids.

5. Prepare your home • Take photos of your possessions and home in case flood damage occurs. Use sandbags to direct water and debris away from your home or business. Salt Lake County residents can use this website to search for sandbag making locations organized by each city in the county. Videos and information on using sandbags can be found here.

If a flood is imminent, transport valuable items up one floor if possible, e.g. B. by moving items from a basement to a first or second floor.

[Read more: Q&A: How can I prepare my home for flooding from Utah’s spring runoff?]

6. Prepare for evacuation • Pack ahead for you, your family, and your pets so you’ll be ready to go whenever you need to. Have your disaster supply kit ready and gather valuable and irreplaceable items ahead of time so you can grab them quickly, Mathews said.

At high tide:

1. Stay informed • Check the internet and social media for information and updates whenever possible. Follow FEMA Region 8The American Red Cross of Utah and your place National Weather Service Office on Twitter. Get the NOAA Weather App on your phone.

2. Evacuate • If you are told to evacuate, do so immediately. Lock your home when you leave it. If you have time, unplug your devices. Take your pets with you. Go to a higher level.

3. Stay away from floods • Streams and rivers coming down from the mountains will be fast and cold, and people should never attempt to cross them on foot, Mathews said.

Remember that 6 inches of water can knock a person off their feet; 12 inches can levitate a car; and 18 inches can sweep away large vehicles.

Water can obscure sharp objects, electrical cords, washed-out road surfaces, etc. Don’t drive around barricades or onto flooded roads – the water may be deeper than it appears.

If you’re in an area prone to flash flooding, pay attention to the weather, Mathews said. “Understand what the conditions are like before you go outside.”

If flood waters get you trapped, go to the highest point possible and call 911.

After flood:

1. Avoid disaster areas • They could hinder rescue and emergency operations. Flood water could be contaminated.

2. Contact your family and loved ones • Let your family know you’re safe by calling the Red Cross “Emergency!” App or the Safe and Well website; Information on these two resources can be found here. Also check your neighbors.

3. Wait for the “all clear” • Do not enter any building until the authorities tell you it is safe. If you enter a building that has been damaged by a flood, be very careful. Make sure the electrical system is turned off.

4. Stay informed • Stay tuned to your local news for updated road conditions and whether a boil-off order is in place. If you lose power, report the outage and get recovery updates in the Rocky Mountain Power app.

5. Insurance • If your property is damaged by a flood, start your flood insurance claim.

For more information on flood preparedness and safety, visit BeReady.Utah.gov, a resource site hosted by the Utah Department of Public Safety.

https://www.sltrib.com/news/2023/04/04/utah-flooding-resource-guide-what/ What to do before, during, and after a flood in Utah

Justin Scaccy

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