Senator Charles Grassley
Q: How can Iowans prepare for flooding this spring?
A: Flooding can be very dangerous for both people and property. With 2008 flooding still fresh in Iowans' minds and flooding already becoming an issue in parts of Iowa this spring, we're all aware that this isn't a drill. Knowledge is power, and that's why the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have put together www.floodsmart.gov to help provide information on how to prepare and what to do during a flood and after a flood hits. Before a flood, consider buying flood insurance since most homeowners insurance policies do not cover flooding. According to FEMA and NOAA, between 20 and 25 percent of all flood insurance claims come from outside high-risk areas. It's also a good idea to have a family emergency plan in place with a supply kit that includes water, first-aid items, non-perishable food, a radio, A flashlight, and blankets. Being prepared will help anyone facing flooding concerns, which could continue all the way through spring.
Q: What should Iowans do during a flood?
A: First and foremost, have safety in mind and find higher ground. According to the NOAA, a flood watch or flash flood watch means that flooding is possible. A flood warning or flash flood warning means that flooding is occurring or will occur soon. Iowans should immediately evacuate on foot when advised to do so. Driving and walking through areas where water is already flooding is not safe. According to FEMA and NOAA, it only takes six-inches of moving water to knock a person off his or her feet, and it only takes about a foot of water to float a vehicle off-road.
Q: What should Iowans do after a flood?
A: People should return to their homes only when authorities indicate it's safe. It's important to stay away from moving water and avoid standing floodwaters that could be contaminated by sewage, oil and gasoline. Water may even be electrically charged by downed power lines. If any building is surrounded by floodwaters, stay away, as there may be hidden damage especially in foundations. Iowans also can contact the American Red Cross and other local volunteer agencies for help with immediate needs. Those with flood insurance should call insurance agents as soon as possible.