By Jessica Miles, Preparedness Planner, Medina County Health Department
With all the cold weather Northeast Ohio has experienced these past few months, it’s hard to believe we need to start preparing for flood season. However, now is the perfect time. Overland flooding, the most common type of flooding, occurs when melting snow (or rain) exceeds the capacity of underground pipes or the drains designed to carry flood water away from urban areas.
BEFORE all the snow melts and the spring rains begin to fall:
- Find out if your home is located in a flash-flood-prone area or landslide-prone area.
- Learn about your community’s emergency plans, warning signals, evacuation routes, and locations of emergency shelters.
- Plan and practice a flood evacuation route with your family. Ask an out-of-state relative or friend to be the “family contact” in case your family is separated during a flood. Make sure everyone in your family knows the name, address, and phone number of this contact person.
- Post emergency phone numbers at every phone.
- Inform local authorities about any special needs, e.g.., elderly or bedridden people, or anyone with a disability.
- Identify potential home hazards and know how to secure or protect them before the flood strikes. Be prepared to turn off electrical power when there is standing water, fallen power lines, or before you evacuate. Turn off gas and water supplies before you evacuate. Secure structurally unstable building materials.
- Buy a fire extinguisher and make sure your family knows where it is and how to use it.
- Buy and install sump pumps with back-up power.
- For drains, toilets, and other sewer connections, install backflow valves or plugs to prevent floodwaters from entering.
Stock your home with supplies that may be needed during the emergency period. At a minimum, these supplies should include:
- Several clean containers for water, large enough for a 3-5 day supply of water (about five gallons for each person).
- A 3-5 day supply of non-perishable food and a non-electric can opener.
- A first aid kit and prescription medicines.
- A battery-powered radio, flashlights, and extra batteries.
- Sleeping bags or extra blankets.
- Water-purifying supplies, such as chlorine or iodine tablets or unscented, ordinary household chlorine bleach.
- Baby food and prepared formula, diapers, and other baby supplies.
- Disposable cleaning cloths, such as “baby wipes” for the whole family to use in case bathing facilities are not available.
- Personal hygiene supplies, such as soap, toothpaste and sanitary napkins.
- An emergency kit for your car with food, flares, booster cables, maps, tools, a first aid kit, fire extinguisher and sleeping bags.
- Rubber boots, sturdy shoes, and waterproof gloves.
- Insect repellent or long-sleeved and long-legged clothing for protection from mosquitoes which may gather in pooled water remaining after the flood.
Be aware of flood hazards no matter where you live or work, especially if you are in low-lying areas near water, behind a levee, or downstream from a dam. Even very small streams, gullies, creeks, culverts, dry streambeds or low-lying ground that appear harmless in dry weather can flood.
For more information about Preparedness Planning or other services offered by the Medina County Health Department, contact us at 330-723-9688 (option 5) for health Information or visit us at www.medinahealth.org.
The Medina County Health Department has protected your health since 1918 and is a trusted source of health guidance for creating a healthy environment, healthy people, and a healthy community. Services are partially supported by your property tax health levy. Equal opportunity provider.