As snow begins to melt, Owen Co. officials urge caution with rising waters

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Owen County Emergency Management reminds residents that Kentucky is in the middle of is Flood Safety Awareness Week.

Before a flood
To prepare for a flood, you should:  Avoid building in a flood prone area unless you elevate and reinforce your home.  Elevate the furnace, water heater, and electric panel if susceptible to flooding.  Install “check valves” in sewer traps to prevent floodwater from backing up into the drains of your home.  Contact community officials to find out if they are planning to construct barriers (levees, beams, flood walls) to stop floodwater from entering the homes in your area. Seal the walls in your basement with waterproofing compounds to avoid seepage.

After a flood
Your home has been flooded. Although floodwaters may be down in some areas, many dangers still exist. Here are some things to remember in the days ahead. Roads may still be closed because they have been damaged or are covered by water. Barricades have been placed for your protection. If you come upon a barricade or a flooded road, go another way.   Keep listening to the radio for news about what to do, where to go, or places to avoid.  Emergency workers will be assisting people in flooded areas. You can help them by staying off the roads and out of the way.  If you must walk or drive in areas that have been flooded.  Stay on firm ground. Moving water only 6 inches deep can sweep you off your feet. Standing water may be electrically charged from underground or downed power lines.  Flooding may have caused familiar places to change. Floodwaters often erode roads and walkways. Flood debris may hide animals and broken bottles, and it’s also slippery. Avoid walking or driving through it.  Play it safe. Additional flooding or flash floods can occur. Listen for local warnings and information. If your car stalls in rapidly rising waters, get out immediately and climb to higher ground.

Staying healthy
A flood can cause emotional and physical stress. You need to look after yourself and your family as you focus on cleanup and repair.      Rest often and eat well.  Keep a manageable schedule. Make a list and do jobs one at a time.  Discuss your concerns with others and seek help. Contact Red Cross for information on emotional support available in your area.

Cleaning up and repairing your home
Turn off the electricity at the main breaker or fuse box, even if the power is off in your community. That way, you can decide when your home is dry enough to turn it back on.

Getting help

The American Red Cross can help you by providing you with a voucher to purchase new clothing, groceries, essential medications, bedding, essential furnishings, and other items to meet emergency needs. Listen to the radio to find out where to go for assistance, or look up American Red Cross in the phone book and call.  The Red Cross can provide you with a cleanup kit: mop, broom, bucket, and cleaning supplies.  Contact your insurance agent to discuss claims.  Listen to your radio for information on assistance that may be provided by the state or federal government or other organizations.  If you hire cleanup or repair contractors, be sure they are qualified to do the job. Be wary of people who drive through neighborhoods offering help in cleaning up or repairing your home. Check references.