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Mar 13, 2012 12:48 PM

Safety Advice - Flash Flooding

- Stay safe
• Be informed via local media and the National Weather Service for additional weather warnings and critical information.
• Avoid floodwaters. If you come upon a flowing stream where water is above your ankles, stop, turn around and go another way. Six inches of swiftly moving water can sweep you off of your feet.
• If you come upon a flooded road while driving, turn around and go another way. If you are caught on a flooded road and waters are rising rapidly around you, get out of the car quickly and move to higher ground. Most cars can be swept away by less than 2 feet of moving water.
• Keep children out of the water. They are curious and often lack judgment about running water or contaminated water.
• Be especially cautious at night when it is harder to recognize flood danger.

- Captain Kip Judice with the Lafayette Police Department has an urgent message from parish officials to all motorists to avoid any vehicle travels on surface streets in Lafayette Parish north of Gloria Switch Road. This includes all neighborhood streets in Carencro, Vatican and the rural areas north of Carencro. Numerous rescues are currently underway of people in vehicles that are stranded in rising waters, most drowning deaths occur when citizens are put in this situation. With the loss of daylight it is impossible to determine the depth of water over roadways and throughout this flooding event there has been no loss of life. All motorists are strongly urged by all of the officials to stay off the roads in this part of Lafayette Parish for their safety. Any help with spreading this message throughout the night would be greatly appreciated.

-Home Utilities: Gas, Septic and Electric Safety:

If you are returning to a storm-damaged house, be particularly careful. Before entering the building, check for structural damage to be sure there is no danger of collapse. Turn off any outside gas lines at meter or tank and let the house air for a few minutes.
If the electricity is off in the neighborhood, make sure your electrical power is turned off at the main breaker or fuse box.
Don't turn on any lights, appliances, or gas systems until they've been tested.
If the house has been flooded, electrical wires and appliances will have to be cleaned and thoroughly dried before they can be safely used again.
If surface water is present, or the home plumbing system is not working, do not try to use the septic system.
Carbon monoxide is odorless and can be deadly. Use a charcoal or gas grill only in an open, well-ventilated area, never inside the house.
Do not connect an external generator to your home's electrical system. Connect appliances directly to the generator with properly sized polarized extension cords. Be sure the generator is properly grounded. Before refueling, let the engine cool for at least two minutes to prevent fires. Store extra fuel in a safe, dry area.

-Debris Removal and Household Safety:

Before returning to a flooded area, you should have had a tetanus shot within the past 10 years. If you're injured during the cleanup, you should immediately check with your doctor for guidance.
Avoid debris and flooded areas, which can camouflage hazards. Watch out for loose or dangling power lines.
Exercise particular caution in using power tools or tackling large debris, which can shift suddenly.
Wear sturdy shoes or boots and protective clothing such as heavy pants, long sleeves and gloves when cleaning up debris. Stinging insects such as bees and wasps can become very aggressive after a storm.
Falls are common; use safety equipment and get trained help with large or difficult jobs. Don't take chances and don't drink alcoholic beverages before or during the use of power tools.
Handling and cleaning contaminated materials can result in dangerous exposure to mold, bacteria, viruses and other contaminants. Individuals with respiratory allergies, or other respiratory illnesses, should not handle or disturb materials that have visible mold growth.
Do not leave children unattended. Do not allow them to play in or explore damaged or flooded areas. Keep chemicals used for cleaning and disinfecting, fuel for generators, and pest-control substances out of reach of children.
Be aware that animals are more likely to bite and be aggressive after a storm. Many wild animals may have been forced out of their normal surroundings by the storm.

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