Spring has sprung and the April showers will soon bring May flowers. With the rain hopefully not freezing any longer, knowing what to do in the event of a flood is 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/warning, gather and prepare emergency supplies such as a flashlight, clean water and food.

Avoid driving through areas with high water. As little as six 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”:

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 ditch, kneel or lay face down in it, and use your arms and hands to protect your head. Don’t shelter in a vehicle or 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 emergencies, 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.