Spring has officially sprung and April showers will start falling to sprout May flowers. Knowing what to do in the event of a flood is as equally important as knowing what to do in a fire. Follow these flood safety tips whenever you see water on the rise.

During a flood watch or warning, gather and prepare emergency supplies such as a flashlight, clean water, and even food.

Avoid driving through areas with high water. As little as 6 inches of water can cause you to lose control of your vehicle. The general rule when approaching a flooded road is “Turn Around, Don’t Drown!”

Do not drink flood water or use it to wash dishes or clean food. Use only bottled, boiled or treated water.

April is also the start of tornado season, which peaks in June and lasts through July. A tornado is a violently rotating column of air that extends from a thunderstorm to the ground and is often – but not always – visible as a funnel cloud.

Whether practicing a tornado drill or sheltering during a warning, the Ohio Committee for Severe Weather Awareness encourages everyone to “DUCK,” which means:

  • D– Go “down” to the lowest level.
  • U– Get “under” something.
  • C– “Cover” your head.
  • K– “Keep” in shelter until the storm has passed.

If you’re caught outside, find a depression or a ditch, exit your vehicle, kneel or lay face-down in the depression, and use your arms and hands to protect your head. Never seek shelter under highway overpasses and bridges – you are safer in a low, flat location. Never try to out-drive a tornado in urban or congested areas. Instead, leave the vehicle immediately for protection in a sturdy building or low flat area.

To report unsafe conditions or an emergency, dial 9-1-1.

Randy Richman is a part-time Brookfield firefighter and paramedic, firefighting instructor and regional director for hyperbaric medicine for Shared Health Service Inc.