Flood preparedness

February 21, 2003

The Washington County Department of Emergency Services-Emergency Management Agency, in cooperation with the Maryland Emergency Management Agency, is offering the public tips on being better prepared in case of flooding conditions.

The recent heavy snow, the following warming trend plus the prediction of heavy rains today and Saturday, mean flooding is possible in Western Maryland.

  • Owners of flat-roofed structures should have snow removed, and obstructions should be cleared from drains and gutters.

  • Listen to the radio or television for information. A NOAA weather radio with warning, alarm tone and battery backup is recommended.

  • Know the difference between flood watches and warnings. A watch means conditions are favorable for flooding, while a warning means flooding is imminent.

  • Emergency preparedness officials suggest people get out of flood-prone areas, including dips, low spots and gullies.

  • If walking, avoid flooded and high or rapidly flowing areas. Do not attempt to cross flowing streams.

  • If while driving you encounter floodwaters, turn around and go the other way. Never attempt to drive through floodwaters. The roadbed may not be intact beneath the water and rapidly rising water can engulf the vehicle and occupants and sweep them away. If the vehicle stalls in floodwater, leave it immediately and seek higher ground. Be especially cautious at night when it is hard to recognize flood dangers.

  • Do not attempt to launch boats, canoes or kayaks into swollen streams or rivers.

  • Do not camp or park your vehicle along streams during threatening weather conditions.

  • If you are walking and come to a flowing stream where water is above your ankles, stop, turn around and go another way. Six inches of rapidly flowing water is enough to knock you off your feet, officials warn.

  • If there is a storm drain near your home, clear it of snow and debris.

  • If you have an emergency, call 911.

For information, or in situations that are not life-threatening, call the Washington County Department of Emergency Services-Emergency Management Agency at 240-313-2930.

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