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Feb. 16, 2005

Emergency Management Office Observes Flood Awareness Week

FULTON - The National Weather Service has designated Feb. 20 through 26 as Flood Awareness Week in New York State. The Oswego County Emergency Management Office offers several suggestions for people to prepare for spring flooding.

"We're not currently experiencing any problems in Oswego County," said Emergency Management Director Patricia Egan. "But we have seen some ice jam problems on the Oswego River and in the Finger Lakes earlier this winter. The threat of flooding could increase with more thawing and the approach of spring weather."

Before a flood:

  • Learn the safest route from your home or business in case you have to leave in a hurry.
  • Develop and practice a "family escape plan" and identify a meeting place outside your home in the event family members become separated.
  • Make an itemized list and photograph all valuables, including furnishings, clothing, and other personal property. Keep the list in a safe, waterproof and fireproof place.
  • Keep on hand a supply of non-perishable food, drinking water, medicine and first aid supplies. Store water in clean, closed containers such as plastic jugs.
  • Make plans for your pets.
  • Keep a portable, battery-operated radio, emergency cooking equipment, and flashlights in working order. Store extra batteries.
  • Keep your car fueled. If electric power is cut off, gas stations may not be able to pump fuel.
  • Find out how many feet your property is above or below possible flood levels. When predicted flood levels are broadcast, you can determine if you may be flooded.
  • Keep materials such as sandbags, plywood, plastic sheeting, and lumber handy for emergency water-proofing.
  • If flooding is likely and there is time, move essential items and furniture to upper floors in the house. Disconnect electric appliances that can't be moved. Do not touch them if you are wet or standing in water.
  • Monitor NOAA Weather Radio, or Emergency Alert System television and radio stations. Listen for "flood watch," "warning," or "advisory" information.

During a flood:

  • If local officials advise evacuation, do so promptly.
  • If directed to a specific location, go there.
  • Know where the shelters are.
  • If there is time, bring outside possessions inside the home or secure them. This includes lawn furniture, signs, garbage cans, garden tools, etc.
  • Disconnect electric appliances that can't be moved. Do not touch them if you are wet or standing in water.
  • Lock house doors and windows.

Travel with care:

  • Have a small disaster supply kit in the trunk of your car.
  • Leave early to avoid being stranded on flooded roads.
  • Use only recommended emergency routes.
  • Watch for washed out roads, earth slides, broken water or sewer mains, loose or downed electrical wires, and fallen or falling objects.
  • Watch out for areas where rivers or streams may suddenly flood.
  • Do not attempt to drive over a flooded road or through standing water.

For more information, call the Oswego County Emergency Management Office at 591-9150 or visit the National Weather Service Web site at http://weather.gov/bgm/flood_awareness/NY_flood_05.htm

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