With active flooding underway in parts of Iowa and the threat of more to come, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is urging Iowans to be ready to take life-saving actions on short notice.
“Additional rainfall, even in smaller amounts, when combined with an already saturated ground, could quickly lead to hazardous conditions,” said FEMA Region VII Administrator Beth Freeman. “It’s critical that Iowans prepare now to do what’s needed to be safe in the wake of current and near-term flooding, as well as other severe weather.”
FEMA’s Region VII office in Kansas City, Missouri has been in regular contact with emergency management officials in Iowa as both agencies actively monitor severe weather and flooding in many parts of the state.
“This flooding is a serious situation for many Iowans,” Freeman added. “We can’t stress enough how important it is for citizens to stay informed of ever-changing conditions, to follow official emergency instructions, to have an emergency plan for all members of the family, including pets, and to be ready to quickly put that plan into action.”
Flooding is not unfamiliar to many Iowans but it helps to refresh on the immediate steps to stay safe:
Be Informed/Know the Danger:
Keep track of severe weather and flood forecasts, and take them seriously. To do that:
- Monitor newspaper, radio and TV reports of current and predicted weather conditions;
- Keep a NOAA Weather radio turned on and charged up to get alerts around the clock;
- Set mobile devices to alert with the latest weather information. Make it easy by downloading and using a free FEMA app, which provides real-time weather alerts from the National Weather Service for up to five locations anywhere in Iowa or the nation. The app also provides valuable safety tips to help families prepare for, and recover from, more than 20 natural and man-made hazards, including how to make a family communication plans, a customizable checklist of emergency supplies and maps of open shelters and disaster recovery centers. The app is available on the Apple App Store and on Google Play.
Plan for the Worst:
Severe weather can strike suddenly so have a plan to stay safe and take life-saving action if needed. The plan should include:
- Actions to take if it’s necessary to shelter-in-place;
- Where each person/pet will go to get out of danger;
- How each person/pet will get to a place of safety;
- How family and friends will communicate with one another if evacuation to or from different locations becomes necessary.
For more information on creating an emergency plan, visit www.Ready.gov or www.beready.iowa.gov.
- Gather essential items in one place if evacuation is needed. Those should include:
- Wallets, purses, car/house keys, eyeglasses, cash, credit cards;
- Medicine and basic first-aid supplies;
- Daily living supplies for infants/young children, family members who are elderly or have access and functional needs, and pets;
- Important information such as numbers for bank accounts, insurance policies (health, auto and property) and credit cards;
- Important phone numbers of relatives, employers, schools and medical professionals such as pharmacies, physicians and veterinarians;
- Chargers for mobile devices;
- One or more changes of clothes. Include long pants, socks, boots and/or sturdy shoes;
- Bottled water and high-protein, non-perishable food such as a peanut butter, tuna and nuts.
- Talk through the emergency plan with all family members so that everyone knows what to do.
If there is time, consider making a more complete emergency supply kit for homes and cars. To learn how, visit www.Ready.gov or www.beready.iowa.gov.
Know What to Do:
- Understand severe weather terms and know what to do for each.
o Watch means a specific type of threat (flooding, tornadoes) could be forming;
o Warning means take action. Life/property threatening conditions are occurring or imminent.
- Heed emergency instructions. If told to evacuate, go immediately!
- Move immediately to higher ground if flash flooding is possible. Don’t wait to be told. DO NOT DRIVE THROUGH FLOOD WATER, even if you know the road. Turn around, don’t drown!
- Abandon mobile homes. They offer little to no protection, even if tied down.
- Don’t touch downed power lines or objects in contact with downed lines. Report electrical hazards, downed lines and gas leaks to the police and utility companies.
- Don’t re-enter damaged structures without first checking to see if they are safe.
Follow FEMA online at www.twitter.com/fema, www.facebook.com/fema, and www.youtube.com/fema. Find regional updates from FEMA Region VII at www.twitter.com/femaregion7. Also, follow Administrator Craig Fugate's activities at www.twitter.com/craigatfema. The social media links provided are for reference only. FEMA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies or applications.
FEMA’s mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.