It takes only 6 inches of fast-flowing water to sweep people off their feet, and water only 2 feet deep can float away most automobiles.
The nonprofit Federal Alliance for Safe Homes offers the following 12 tips for residents to stay safe if flooding, high wind, and hail occur.
• Avoid flooded areas or those with rapid water flow. Do not attempt to cross a flowing stream. Never drive through floodwaters or on flooded roads. If your vehicle stalls, leave it immediately and seek higher ground.
• If you are caught outdoors, avoid natural lightning rods such as tall, isolated trees in an open area or the top of a hill, and metal objects such as wire fences, golf clubs and metal tools.
• Anticipate a possible power outage. If there is space in your refrigerator or freezer, consider filling plastic containers with water, leaving about an inch of space inside each. Place the containers in the refrigerator and freezer to help keep food cold if the power goes out.
• Back up computer files and unplug electronics.
• Keep a supply of flashlights, batteries, and a battery-powered radio on hand. Do not use candles because they pose a fire hazard.
• If you have furniture and other outdoor equipment on the patio or deck, bring them inside when strong weather threatens.
• Bring pets inside if possible.
Staying safe if hail falls
• Close your drapes, blinds, or window shades to prevent potential injury from broken glass blowing inside. Do not try to go outside to protect your property during a storm. Stay indoors until the storm has passed.
• Stay away from skylights, windows, and doors.
• After the storm has passed, verify that you can safely move around outside. Avoid any broken or downed branches and power lines.
• Check the trees, shrubs, and plants around your house. If they are stripped of their foliage, there is a possibility your roof is damaged. Dented patio covers, screens, or soft aluminum roof vents could also indicate roof damage.
• Cover any broken windows and holes in your roof to prevent water intrusion following hail damage.
For more home and family safety tips visit http://protect-your-home.org/.