Floods are very common hazards in the U.S. and can happen very slowly or very fast. Close proximity to Lake Ontario means flooding can impact Webster residents. Here are some safety tips to prepare for rising water—and what to do once a flood has begun.
Before a Flood:
Construct barriers (levees, beams, flood walls) to stop floodwater from entering your home.
Seal walls in basements with waterproofing compounds to avoid seepage.
Know the difference between a flood watch and a flood warning. A watch means flooding is possible. A warning means flooding is occurring or will occur soon.
When a Flood is Imminent:
Pack a bag with important items in case you need to evacuate. Don't forget to include needed medications.
If advised to evacuate your home, do so immediately.
If there is any possibility of a flash flood, move immediately to higher ground.
If possible, bring in outdoor furniture and move essential items to an upper floor.
Turn off utilities at the main switches or valves if instructed to do so. Disconnect electrical appliances.
During a Flood:
Do not try to walk or drive into floodwaters:
* 6 inches of fast-moving water can knock an adult off their feet and sweep them away * 12 inches of moving water can carry off a small car
* 18 - 24 inches of water can carry away large vehicles including trucks and SUV's
If you have to walk in water, wherever possible, walk where the water is not moving. Use a stick to check the firmness of the ground in front of you.
If floodwaters rise around your car, abandon the car and move to higher ground if you can do so safely.
Do not touch electrical equipment if you are wet or standing in water.
Contact the Town's Highway department if you are in need of sandbags for your property: (585) 872-1443
* If your basement or home is in danger of flooding, contact RG&E to turn off your electricity and/or natural gas service. Never enter a flooded basement or home until electricity and natural gas service have been turned off. 1-800-743-1701
After a Flood:
Listen for news reports to learn whether the community's water supply is safe to drink.
Avoid floodwaters; water may be contaminated by oil, gasoline, or raw sewage. Water may also be electrically charged from underground or downed power lines.
Be aware of areas where floodwaters have receded. Roads may have weakened and could collapse under the weight of a car.
Stay away from downed power lines, and report them to the power company.
Return home only when authorities indicate it is safe.
Stay out of any building if it is surrounded by floodwaters.
Service damaged septic tanks, cesspools, pits, and leaching systems as soon as possible. Damaged sewage systems are serious health hazards.
Clean and disinfect everything that got wet. Mud left from floodwater can contain sewage and chemicals.
Residents should familiarize themselves with the proper usage of sandbags -
Guidance is available from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at: https://www.swl.usace.army.mil/Portals/50/Flood%20Fighting%20Booklet.pdf
Source: U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency, National Weather Service