(ModernSurvival.org) – Floods are the most common natural disaster in the United States, occurring when water overflows into areas that are normally dry. Unfortunately, getting caught in a flood can lead to serious injury or death, which is why knowing how to survive a flood is vital.
How Floods Happen
There are a number of ways floodwaters can rise. A strong storm can cause lakes, rivers and dams to swell with rainwater, which leads to flooding. Melting snow can also cause flooding in the same way, especially if a large amount melts rapidly. Storm surges caused by tropical storms and hurricanes are also incredibly deadly, due to sudden flooding.
Why Floods are Dangerous
Being caught in a flood is incredibly dangerous. Like many other natural disasters, floods can occur with little to no warning. Flash floods move quickly and have strong currents. They are known to rip trees out of the ground, destroy buildings and cause bridges to collapse.
Of course, drowning is a threat during a flood, not only because there is so much water (and it’s moving quickly), but also because of what the water is carrying. Debris caught in the current can injure anyone in the floodwater, making it more difficult to swim or tread water.
Additionally, floods can cause power outages, communication disruptions, traffic jams and widespread destruction. And, the flood itself isn’t the only issue to contend with. The aftermath can be just as deadly, as it may not be possible to deliver essential supplies such as water and food to the area.
How to Survive
If a flood warning has been issued, seek shelter immediately. Never attempt to walk, swim or drive through floodwaters. It only takes six inches of moving water to knock a person off their feet, and being knocked unconscious by a fall into moving water could be fatal. Additionally, as little as one foot of flood water can sweep cars away.
Here are more tips on how to survive a flood:
- Avoid bridges that cross rapidly-moving water, as floodwaters can cause bridges to collapse.
- Listen to emergency broadcasts for further instructions. If told to evacuate, do so.
- Stay inside a car trapped by fast-moving water. Only get out if the water begins to flood the car itself, then move to the roof of the vehicle.
- If trapped within a flooding building, move to the highest floor. Do not go into the attic, as it is possible to become trapped there without a way to escape. Only relocate to the roof if necessary. Once there, signal for help (such as drawing SOS on the roof).
- Avoid power lines, as they are often damaged or knocked down during strong storms and flooding. A downed power line can cause surrounding water to become charged, leading to electrocution.
Floods are far more common than many people believe, and come with a number of survival challenges. To see one common misconception about surviving a flood that could be deadly, take a look at our article on drinking flood water here.
~Here’s to Your Survival!
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