State officials urge Ohioans to practice flood safety

COLUMBUS — State officials urge residents to practice safety as local emergency management officials continue response and recovery efforts due to flooding in central and southern Ohio.

Basic Flood Safety Tips

  • Never allow children to play near or swim in swollen creeks, culverts or floodwaters. During winter months, water temperatures can be excessively cold. Even brief exposure can be dangerous.
  • Never allow children to drink or put toys in floodwaters. If your child shows any signs or symptoms of illness after being in floodwater, such as nausea, vomiting or diarrhea, contact your physician as soon as possible. If you cannot make it to your physician, go to the nearest hospital emergency room.
  • If a person receives a cut, burn or puncture wound, ensure it does not come in contact with floodwater. Flood water may contain various bacteria, viruses and other infectious organisms that may cause disease. Floodwater may also contain fecal material from overflowing sewage systems. If you are concerned about an injury, check with your physician to see if a tetanus booster is necessary.
  • Turn Around, Don’t Drown!® – If you are driving and have come to a flooded area, turn around and go the other way. Many deaths have resulted from attempts to drive (or walk) through flooded roadways.
  • Just 6 inches of moving water can knock over an adult. Two feet of rushing water can carry away most vehicles, including SUVs and pickup trucks.
  • If there is a chance of flash flooding, move immediately to higher ground. Flash floods are the #1 cause of weather-related deaths in the U.S.
  • If floodwaters rise around your car but the water is not moving, abandon the car and move to higher ground. If the water is moving, do not leave your car.
  • Avoid camping or parking along streams, rivers and creeks during heavy rainfall. These areas can flood quickly and with little warning.

After a Flood

  • Return home only when authorities say it is safe.
  • Be aware of areas where floodwaters have receded and watch out for debris. Floodwaters often erode roads and walkways.
  • Do not attempt to drive through areas that are still flooded.
  • Avoid standing water, as it may be electrically charged from underground or downed power lines.
  • Before entering a flood-damaged building, check the foundation for cracks and inspect porch roofs and overhangs to ensure they are adequately supported.
  • Be alert for gas leaks. Do not strike a match or use open flame when entering a building, unless you know the gas has been turned off and the area ventilated.
  • For clean-up – Clean hard surfaces with a solution of bleach and water. Make sure to ventilate the area when using chlorine bleach. Wear a filter mask and gloves to avoid contact with mold.
  • Photograph damage to your property for insurance purposes.