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During floods, there are some things you can do to protect your family and keep your property losses to a minimum. 

Find out if your home is at risk by consulting county flood maps. If your home is at risk, purchase flood insurance guaranteed by the Nation Flood Insurance Program. Your homeowner's insurance policy will not cover flood damage. Consult your insurance agent to purchase flood insurance. Don’t wait for a flood to buy flood insurance; it usually takes 30 days for the policy to take effect. 

Some other things that you can do include having a disaster plan with multiple evacuation routes, practicing it and having a disaster kit.

If you have time before the flood, turn off all utilities at the main power switch and close the main gas valve. Move valuables to the upper level or higher ground. Fill your bath tubs, sinks and plastic bottles with clean water. Bring outdoor items such as lawn furniture inside or tie them down.

When the flood arrives

  • Don’t drive through flooded areas.
  • Don’t walk through flooded areas. It takes as little as 6 inches of moving water to knock you off your feet.
  • Watch out for stray or wild animals. They will lose their homes in a flood, too. They may seek shelter in yours.
  • Watch out for and stay clear of downed power lines.
  • If water starts coming into your home before you can evacuate, go to a higher level or even the roof if you have to. Take your disaster kit with you.
  • Don’t try to swim to safety. Wait for rescuers to come to you.

After the flood

  • If your home has suffered damage, call your insurance agent.
  • Inspect the building foundation for cracks or other damage before attempting to enter. Do not go in if there is any suspicion the building is unsafe.
  • If you go inside the building, do not use cigarettes, lighters or other open flames.
  • Keep power off until your electrical system can be inspected by a qualified electrician.
  • Be careful when walking around. The floors can become slippery.
  • Clean your home as soon as possible. Flood waters will pick up chemicals from the road, neighboring farms and businesses, and sewage.
  • Throw out food and medications that may have come into contact with floodwater.

When it comes time to rebuild, take steps to make your home more flood-resistant. Consult your builder and local building codes.

Turn around; don't drown 

West Texas is particularly vulnerable to flash flooding. When rain comes, it can come fast and furious ... and our roadways can quickly become covered. 

The amount of water over a road can be deceptively deep and the rushing water can wash out a portion of the road -- damage that will be hidden by the water. Not until your car stalls or gets floated away will you realize the danger you are in. More people drown in their cars than anywhere else. 

If your car becomes stalled, abandon it immediately and go to higher ground. As unfortunate as it is that a motorist is sometimes caught in flooded roads, it is particularly treacherous for our first-responders to attempt a rescue. On average, 2.2 rescuers become victims for every single stranded motorist caught in flood waters that they try to rescue. 

Please do not risk your life or the lives of our rescuers. Turn around; don’t drown!