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Flood and Swiftwater Awareness

What You Can Do To Reduce The Risk

April 8, 2013

With spring on the way, now is the time to get you and your family prepared for flood season. As snow melts and the rainy months approach, water levels may rise in the Milwaukee area. The July 2010 flooding resulted in millions of dollars in property losses and damage to thousands of homes and businesses in Milwaukee County. Although the federal government was able to offer more than $45 million in flood recovery assistance to residents and small businesses, we cannot and should not depend on government assistance to help us if we do not do what we can, in advance, to reduce the impact of possible flooding.

What can you do to keep yourself safe? Most importantly is, stay away from any moving floodwater if at all possible. Every year, people perish because they tried to drive through flooded streets or wade too close to moving water. Water is a force of nature not to be underestimated. Water four feet deep can easily wash a car away. Additionally, do not walk around flooded streets. Many times, the pressure of water moving through storm water systems will lift manhole covers off. Depending on water depth, there may be no indication that a manhole cover is not in place. If someone was to step through an open, flooded manhole, the sheer pressure and speed of the water would pull them in instantly. Citizens as well as emergency first responders have been seriously injured and killed this way. While it may seem fun to a child, do not let them roam around in flood waters for any reason.

How can you protect your property and valuables during a flood? Simple steps like moving personal items off the basement floor, elevating washers, dryers and using waterproof storage bins can help prevent some of the dangers of flooding. Utilizing sand bags is another great option for protecting your home and property.

Visit Ready Wisconsin for more prevention tips, and to find out if your home is at increased risk for flooding.