As storms continue to pose a threat to the state for the next several days, the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) reminds residents that flooding can cause fatalities and serious injuries for people who are trapped or swept away by wading in, or driving into floodwaters.
During this period of heavy rainfall, OSDH encourages Oklahomans to be prepared to evacuate flood-prone areas. An evacuation plan should consist of multiple escape routes in case roads are blocked. Evacuation plans should also take into account people with disabilities and others with access and functional needs, pets and even livestock.
When evacuation is not possible before floodwaters reach a person’s immediate area, it is important to first call 911 if possible. Be prepared to provide the location and information about the current situation. For persons trapped in a building, officials remind occupants to go to the highest level of a building. However, avoid climbing into a closed attic as it could lead to being trapped by floodwater. Climbing onto a roof is only recommended when absolutely necessary.
For drivers who find themselves trapped in a vehicle, officials encourage remaining in the vehicle unless water is rising inside. Occupants are then advised to seek refuge on the roof.
OSDH also warns residents about the risks involved with returning to an area which has been severely flooded
The following safety tips are recommended:
Shut off utilities to a flooded building. Homeowners who are not familiar with electricity or their home’s electrical system should contact a professional to help make the property safe from electrical hazards.
Protect yourself from electric shock, mold contamination, asbestos and lead paint.
Check for loose boards and slippery floors.
Use flashlights. Avoid using lanterns, torches or matches to examine dark buildings. Flammable gases may be present and open flames can cause a fire or explosion.
Generators or other gasoline-powered machinery should only be used outdoors away from doors and windows as carbon monoxide exhaust can be fatal.