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Floods are all too common in the modern era, and they’re only becoming more likely. Heavy rainfall totals and a changing global climate mean that you need to be well-aware of what to do in the event of a flood in your region. Here are some safety tips for what you should do if you’re caught by a flood.

Evacuate Immediately

When you hear of a flood warning for your area, and you’re given an evacuation order by local authorities, don’t hesitate. Get your family and your pets and get to safety. The sooner you get to higher ground, the safer you’ll be. There won’t always be forewarning for natural disasters. However, when you do have warning, make sure you heed it!

Don’t bother trying to get valuables or belongings aside from essentials. Get your family, your pets and yourself to safety as soon as possible when you hear a flood is going to affect your area. You can replace belongings, but you can’t replace living things.

Active Flooding

In the cases where you didn’t have enough forewarning to evacuate, don’t panic. Rising water can cause a lot of people to make bad decisions that are correct in the short-term but dangerous in the long-term. For instance, people will often continue climbing higher into their homes to avoid rising floodwaters and will accidentally trap themselves in their attic with no windows.

When you’re moving upstairs to avoid rising water levels, don’t shelter on any floors without windows. Should you need to escape a floor that has rising water levels and there is now window on the floor above, evacuate the building through the window and climb onto the roof of the building you’re in.

Don’t Try to Swim

Whatever you do, don’t try to swim through floodwaters. It can be tempting to try to swim to safety, but this is a bad idea. Floodwaters are often fast-moving and unpredictable. If you see moving water, go the other way. It’s not hard for even ankle-high water to knock an adult off-balance and carry them away with the current.

In the event that you’re unable to go anywhere else, and the water continues rising, find something buoyant that will float and climb onto that. Treading water or swimming during a serious flood is more likely to get your hurt than allow you to get to safety. Remember, downed power lines can still have an electrical charge, and water is an excellent conductor. Stay well away from power lines and try to stay close to areas you know are safe.