According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration , flooding is the most common natural disaster in the United States. It can happen anywhere and at any time, causing devastation quickly.
In March 2016, many residents in southeastern Texas and parts of Louisiana evacuated their homes and communities to escape extensive flooding. However, some homeowners remained in their homes and were trapped by floodwaters.
The America's PrepareAthon! How to Prepare for a Flood guide recommends the following steps to protect yourself and your family against being trapped by floodwaters:
- Listen to local weather broadcasts and emergency alerts and, if authorities advise, evacuate before flooding starts.
- However, if floodwaters cover the roadways around you, do not evacuate through floodwaters. Seek higher elevation instead.
If you see floodwater on roads, walkways, bridges, or elsewhere, do not attempt to cross. The depth of the water is not always obvious. Water may be covering a washed out roadbed or other hazards that may prove harmful.
Moving water has tremendous power. Six inches of moving water has the potential to knock an adult off their feet, and as little as one foot of water can sweep a vehicle off the road. Remember: Turn Around, Don't Drown!
Floodwaters can also contain hazardous materials, including rocks, mud, oil, gasoline, downed power lines, and even sewage. Be especially cautious at night when it is harder to recognize flood dangers.
For more information on floodwater hazards, visit the National Weather Service's Turn Around Don't Drown® program.
Securing Your Financial Documents
Many Americans experience the challenge of rebuilding their lives after a disaster or other emergency. In these stressful circumstances, having access to personal financial, insurance, medical, and other records is crucial for starting the process of recovery quickly and efficiently.
Taking the time now to collect and secure these critical records will give you peace of mind. In the event of an emergency, it will also ensure that you have the documentation needed to start the recovery process without delay.
The Emergency Financial First Aid Kit (EFFAK) can help you financially prepare if a disaster or other emergency strikes your community. The EFFAK contains four important steps to financial preparedness:
- Assemble your important documents and contacts;
- Review your insurance policies and financial paperwork to be sure that they are still accurate and current;
- Store paper and electronic copies of all files in safe locations; and
- Revisit and update your EFFAK on a regular schedule. (Updates are especially important when certain changes in your life occur, like a change in marital status, birth of a child, and opening or closing accounts.)
April is Financial Literacy Month. This month is a great opportunity to review and update your EFFAK. You can find more financial preparedness resources online.
National Volunteer Week
As severe weather conditions displace many homeowners in parts of the United States, National Volunteer Week takes on greater importance.
This year, National Volunteer Week will be recognized Sunday, April 10 – Saturday, April 16.
Organizations such as the American Red Cross , Salvation Army , and Habitat for Humanity take an active role in disaster relief and recovery. They continuously look for volunteers and financial assistance to support their missions. By supporting these organizations, you're ultimately helping people who are experiencing some of the toughest challenges.
There are several ways you can provide support:
- Donate cash – a financial contribution is the most effective type of donation;
- Offer gifts like clothing, food, and furniture. Other in-kind donations include services such as administrative support, meeting/office space, website development, or expertise in strategic planning and legal advice; and
- Volunteer – giving personal time to a worthy cause is one of the most effective ways to contribute to an organization.
Consider volunteering for your local Community Emergency Response Team (CERT). Volunteers assist others in their community following a disaster when professional responders are not immediately available to help. Find a local CERT near you .
For more options to serve, check out the Corporation for National and Community Service – the federal agency charged with promoting and fostering volunteering and national service in America.
Webinar: Moving from Awareness to Action with America's PrepareAthon!
On Wednesday, April 13 , FEMA's Individual and Community Preparedness Division invites you to a webinar to discuss preparedness events communities can organize to participate in America's PrepareAthon! Hear from speakers who planned community events.
Title: Moving from Awareness to Action with America's PrepareAthon!
Date: Wednesday, April 13, 2016
Time: 3:00 – 4:00 p.m. EST
- Mary Carlson , Senior Manager, Training and Exercises, Amtrak Emergency Management & Corporate Security
- Bart Howard , Deputy Director for Colorado Springs Office of Emergency Management
- Dale Lane , Director, Shelby County Office of Preparedness
- Dr. Beth R. Stewart , Dean of Arts and Sciences, Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College
How to Join the Webinar:
We hope that you will be able to join us on April 13!
Dates for Your Calendar!