Pre-plan your trip by knowing what type of weather conditions you may be traveling in. If possible, plan your routes on familiar, well lit, and improved roadways.
Allow for extra travel time; don’t be in a hurry to get where you are going.
Plan alternative routes to your destination; there may be a safer way to get where you need to go.
Keep your cell-phone or other media devices fully charged prior to travel, this may be your only source of information or communication.
Keep others informed about your time of departure, route of travel and expected time of arrival.
First and foremost Turn Around Don’t Drown®! Avoid ALL flooded roadways, and do not drive around barricades at Low Water Crossings regardless of how shallow or slow moving the surface water may appear to be flowing. Water covering a roadway may be hiding a washed out bridge or road bed…you may not be driving on an improved road!
Should you find yourself in a low-lying area during a flood, get to higher ground quickly. Avoid canyons, washes or ditches that can channel swift water.
If your car is stranded in swift moving water, don’t panic, stay calm and dial 911. Roll the window down on the downstream side (opposite side of the direction of water flow) of the vehicle and remain with your vehicle until help arrives.
If your car fills with water exit your vehicle through a sun roof or through the open window on the downstream side and remain in place on top of your vehicle.
If you are swept into fast moving floodwater outside of your car, place yourself in a Defensive Swim position, by floating on your back with your head up and chin on your chest and swimming with your feet pointing downstream. This allows you to kick away and maneuver yourself around debris with your legs prior to striking them.
In your Defensive Swim Position, always maneuver yourself around or over obstacles.
If you become stranded on something above the floodwater, e.g. car, tree, building, etc…stay put and wait for rescue. Do not enter or re-enter the floodwater.
When help arrives, stay calm and follow the directions of the rescue team.
Summer is in full effect and water activities are a great way to cool down and have fun. Water activities come with safety concerns and water enthusiasts should take precautionary measures to keep themselves and loved ones out of danger. The most severe and most feared water emergency is drowning. Drowning may not always look like someone in obvious distress. It can be fast and silent with very little splashing, waving, or yelling. Respond quickly when you notice someone displaying the following uncontrolled signs:
Head low in the water, mouth at water level
Head tilted back with mouth open
Eyes glassy and empty, unable to focus
No response when you ask if they’re ‘OK’
Hair over forehead or eyes
Not using legs – Vertical
Hyperventilating or gasping
Trying to swim in a particular direction but not making progress
There are some special considerations to be taken when swimming in open bodies of water as swimmers often have to share the lake with wildlife, boaters and other recreational water vehicles. In addition to the above safety tips, observe the following safety tips specific to open bodies of water:
Know your location and, if on a boat, be able to give a description of the boat you are on in case of an emergency.
Know how many people are in your group and perform periodic headcounts to ensure all guests are accounted for.
If someone is missing, know where the person was last seen and what he/she was wearing.
Protect your feet from jagged rocks, broken glass or other sharp objects by wearing water shoes.
Carbon Monoxide (CO) Emissions – Boaters should refrain from idling the motor for extended periods of time. Swimmers should stay away from exhaust vent areas and avoid swimming near or under the swim platform or back deck. Carbon monoxide is colorless, odorless and tasteless. The CO emitted from boating traffic can pose a serious threat to boaters and swimmers. Early symptoms of CO poisoning are headache, nausea, weakness, irritated eyes, and dizziness. These symptoms are often confused with intoxication or motion sickness.
Bacteria - Refrain from swimming after flooding or heavy rains. Unlike swimming pools, natural waters are not chlorinated or disinfected. The risk of bacterial infection increases after heavy rains due to hazardous matter washing into the lakes and streams.
Water Depth Visibility – Do not jump or dive into the water if you are uncertain of the depth of the water. It can be difficult to determine how deep the water is and jumping into shallow water can cause serious injury or death.
Reptiles, Insects and other Critters – Stay away from wildlife. Swimmers share the water with many animals, reptiles, insects and other critters. The number of occupants increases after heavy rains and flooding. It is best to refrain from swimming in lakes and rivers after major rains and flooding.