Talking About Disaster: A Guide for Standard Messages
Table of Contents
Introduction and Purpose
What Is in This Guide
Using This Guide
Hazard Messages
Chemical Emergencies
Fires, Residential
Fires, Wildland
Floods and Flash Floods
Hazardous Materials Incidents
Heat (Heat Wave)
Hurricanes and Tropical Storms
Nuclear Power Plant Incidents
Thunderstorms, Severe
Winter Storms
Special Populations Messages
Talking to Children About Disasters
Preparedness Action Messages
Family Disaster Plan
Disaster Supplies Kit
Emergency Supplies for your Vehicle
First Aid Kit Contents
First Aid Kit for Pets
Stocking and Storing Food and Water
Smoke Alarms
Carbon Monoxide Alarms
Fire Extinguishers
Arc-Fault Circuit Interrupters (AFCIs)
Home Fire Sprinkler Systems
Portable Generators
Evacuation, Sheltering, and Post-Disaster Safety Messages
Evacuation, Sheltering, and Post-Disaster Safety
What to do if Evacuation is Necessary Because of a Storm
What to do When There is Flooding
“Wind Safe” Room
How to Shelter-in-Place (Chemical Incidents)
Factors for Protection from Radioactive Fallout
Food and Water Safety During/Post Disaster
Emergency Sanitation
How to Recognize and Treat Heat Emergencies
Frostbite and Hypothermia

What to Do When There Is Flooding

If you are outdoors, you should:
Stay out of areas subject to flooding. Dips, low spots, canyons, washes, etc. can become filled with water.
Climb to high ground and stay there. Move away from dangerous floodwater.
If you come upon a flowing stream where water is above your ankles, stop, turn around, and go another way. Never try to walk, swim, or drive through swift water. Many flood fatalities are caused by people attempting to drive through water, or people playing in high water. If it is moving swiftly, even water six inches (15 centimeters) deep can sweep you off your feet.

If you are driving, you should:

Avoid already flooded areas and areas subject to sudden flooding. Do not attempt to cross flowing streams. Many flood fatalities are caused by people attempting to drive through water or by people playing in high water. The depth of water is not always obvious. The roadbed may be washed out under the water, and you could be stranded or trapped. Also, standing water may be electrically charged from underground or downed power lines. Rapidly rising water may stall the engine, engulf the vehicle and its occupants, and sweep them away. Look out for flooding at highway dips, bridges, and low areas. As little as six inches of water may cause you to lose control of your vehicle and two feet (0.6 meters) of water will carry away most vehicles, including SUVs and pickup trucks.
Stay away from underpasses. Underpasses can fill rapidly with water, while the adjacent roadway remains clear. Driving into an underpass can quickly put you in five to six feet (1.5 to 1.8 meters) of water.
Turn around and find another route if you come upon rapidly rising water. Move to higher ground away from rivers, streams, creeks, and storm drains. If your route is blocked by floodwater or barricades, find another route. Barricades are put up by local officials to protect people from unsafe roads. Driving around them can be a serious risk.

Initial development of this guide was made possible by a grant from the Home Safety Council, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to helping prevent the nearly 21 million medical visits
that occur on average each year from unintentional injuries in the home. Through national programs and partners across America, the Home Safety Council works to educate and empower families to take actions that help keep them safe in and around their homes. This guide is the product of the hard work and collaboration of many professionals affiliated with the organizations partnering with the American Red Cross, which represents the expertise and commitment of the following organizations:

American Geological InstituteDisability Preparedness CenterHome Safety CouncilThe Humane Society of the United StatesInstitute for Business & Home SafetyInternational Association of Emergency ManagersNational Fire Protection AssociationNational Interagency Fire CouncilNational SafeKids CampaignNational Science FoundationU.S. Consumer Product Safety CommissionU.S. Department of Agriculture -Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service -Extension Disaster Education Network -Food Safety and Inspection ServiceU.S. Department of Commerce - NOAA/National Weather ServiceU.S. Department of Health and Human Services - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - Food and Drug AdministrationU.S. Department of Homeland Security -Federal Emergency Management Agency -U.S. Fire AdministrationU.S. Department of Interior - U.S. Geological Survey
From: Talking About Disaster: Guide for Standard Messages. Washington, D.C., 2007.

Html Copyright The Disaster Center 2012

For information pertaining to emergency planning and response in your own state, please see our state pages:
Alabama -- Alaska -- Arizona -- Arkansas -- California -- Colorado -- Connecticut -- Delaware -- Florida -- Georgia -- Hawaii -- Idaho -- Illinois -- Indiana -- Iowa -- Kansas -- Kentucky -- Louisiana -- Maine -- Maryland -- Massachusetts -- Michigan -- Minnesota -- Mississippi -- Missouri -- Montana -- Nebraska -- Nevada -- New Hampshire -- New Jersey -- New Mexico -- New York -- North Carolina -- North Dakota -- Ohio -- Oklahoma -- Oregon -- Pennsylvania -- Rhode Island -- South Carolina -- South Dakota -- Tennessee -- Texas -- Utah -- Vermont -- Virginia -- Washington -- West Virginia -- Wisconsin -- Wyoming
If you have any suggestions about how this site can be improved, please send an email to