Water is powerful. It only takes six inches of swiftly moving water to knock you off your feet. One foot of moving water can float a small car. Two feet of moving water can float a larger truck or SUV.
If you ever come across a flooded roadway, remember, "Turn Around, Don't Drown." You don't know how deep the water is. You don't know how quickly the water is moving. You don't know what's in the water -- including downed live wires. And you don't know what the integrity of the road is underneath the water.
Here are some tips from the Georgia Emergency Management Agency on what to do before floods.
- Know your area’s flood risk – if unsure, call your local emergency management agency or planning and zoning department, or visit Flood Smart.
- Property insurance does not typically cover flood damage. Talk to your insurance provider about your policy and consider if you need additional coverage. The National Flood Insurance Program is designed to provide reasonable flood insurance in exchange for the careful management of flood-prone areas by local communities. The program, administered by FEMA, is available in hundreds of participating Georgia communities.
- Familiarize yourself with the terms that are used to identify a flood.
- A flood watch means widespread flooding is possible in your area. Be prepared to evacuate. A watch is issued for flooding that is expected to occur six to 12 hours after the heavy rains have ended.
- A flood warning means a flood is expected in your area within six to 12 hours. If local authorities advise you to evacuate, do so immediately.
- Get and prepare a portable Ready kit in case you have to evacuate. Plan how you will leave and where you will go if you are advised to evacuate.
- Keep insurance policies, documents, and other valuables in a safe deposit box and keep copies in a waterproof container in your Ready kit.
- Reduce potential flood damage by raising your furnace, water heater, and electric panel if they are in areas of your home that may be flooded.
- Move your furniture and valuables to the higher floors of your home.
- Your family might not be together when disaster strikes, create a communications plan. Choose a meeting place outside of your neighborhood in case your family is apart and unable to return home due to flooded roads.
- Determine an out-of-town contact. It may be easier to text or call long distance if local phone lines are overloaded or out of service. Everyone should have emergency contact information in writing or programmed into their cell phones.
- Plan ahead for your pets. Shelters cannot accept pets due to health reasons, so it’s important to find a pet-friendly hotel or make arrangements with family or friends in advance.