The week of May 23-27, 2016, is “Flood Awareness Week in Texas.” Throughout the week, the state will recognize past significant flooding events that have happened in Texas during Memorial Day weekends, and Smith County emergency officials will provide tips on how to prepare for and stay safe during flooding events. Governor Greg Abbott has issued a proclamation and hopes local communities will help spread the word to educate people on the importance of flooding risks and preparedness, which will hopefully help save lives.
Here are a few tips from the Smith County Fire Marshal/Emergency Management Coordinator Connie McCoy-Wasson:
Flash flooding is the No. 1 weather-related killer in Texas. More than 50percent of all flash flood fatalities nationwide involve vehicles.
Turn Around, Don’t Drown. People need to be aware of the low lying areas in their neighborhoods or on their route to school, church, grocery store, etc. If they are normally low lying areas that have experienced recent heavy rains, find another to get to your destination.
Tires can act as flotation devices and send your car downstream very quickly. It takes only 2 feet of water to float a 3,000-pound vehicle.
If the water is covering the roadways, do not drive through the high water, because the road may actually be washed out or at least have deep holes in the roadways.
Listen to your local T.V. and radio stations for weather updates.
If you are in a low lying area, get to high ground as quickly as possible.
Do not cross flooded roadways or streams on foot. It takes as little as 6 inches of water to knock an adult off of their feet.
Never allow children to play in ditches or storm drains.
If you are traveling and severe weather is forecast for that area, be sure to pack an emergency supply kit.
Nearly 8 of 10 vehicle-related flood fatalities in Texas occur between the hours of 6 p.m. and 6 a.m.