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The original item was published from 3/5/2019 8:28:00 AM to 3/17/2019 12:00:01 AM.

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Posted on: March 5, 2019

[ARCHIVED] Flood Safety Awareness Week - March 11-15, 2019

blue truck in flooded neighborhood

Flood Safety Awareness Week - March 11-15, 2019

Flooding causes more damage and death in the US than any other weather-related event

Floodwaters can be swift, powerful and deadly. To encourage individuals, families and businesses to learn more about the many ways floods can occur, the hazards associated with floods, and what they can do to save life and property, Santa Rosa County Board of County Commissioners recognizes March 11 through 15 as Flood Safety Awareness Week 2019. Santa Rosa residents are encouraged to visit for flood safety facts and tips.

Most flood related deaths in the U.S. are due to people driving cars through flooded areas.

Basic flood safety tips include:

  • If flooding occurs, move to higher ground immediately.
  • Do not allow children to play near high water, including storm drains or ditches. Hidden dangers often lie beneath the water.
  • Flooded roads often have significant damage hidden by floodwaters. Road beds may be washed out under flood waters. Never drive through flooded roadways. Turn around, don't drown! 
  • Do not camp or park your vehicle along streams or washes, particularly when threatening weather conditions exist.
  • Be especially cautious at night when it is harder to recognize flood dangers.
  • Being prepared for a flood will not only help keep families safe, it also helps to minimize damage and reduces the cost of recovery.

According to the National Weather Service, flooding causes more property damage in the United States than any other severe weather-related event, an average of $5 billion a year. Flooding is a serious concern in Florida since it can happen anywhere and at any time. Effects from flooding can be localized, impacting just a few streets, or very large, affecting multiple cities, counties and even whole states.

"Everyone lives in a flood zone. What is important is to know your risk," said Karen Thornhill, floodplain manager for Santa Rosa County's development services. "We can assist citizens in determining their risk of flooding."

There are five simple rules to flood preparedness:

1.Get the facts
To determine your floodzone:

  • visit, click "Start Interactive GIS Mapping System," enter your address and select "flood zone" map layer

  • contact Karen Thornhill, or (850) 981-7029

  • access the FEMA Map Service Center at

2.Get insured
Just a few inches of water from a flood can cause tens of thousands of dollars in damage. If you can't afford to replace it, you need to insure it. The National Flood Insurance Program can help protect you financially if you need flood insurance. However, many are unaware that they qualify or that affordable flood insurance is available. Businesses, homes and apartments, both owners and renters, can be insured for contents only, property only, or both. Visit for more information.
3.Get a kit 
Create an emergency kit for home, work and auto to include three to five days of supply of water and non-perishable food, NOAA weather radio with battery backup, tools, maps, whistle, flashlight, batteries, medical supplies, bedding, clothing, pet supplies, infant items, special needs supplies, copies of important documents (insurance, driver's license, deeds, birth and marriage certificates, tax records) in a water proof container. Visit or for more information.
4.Get a plan 
Create an emergency flood plan with your family and co-workers. Decide where you will meet if separated. Designate one person as an out-of-state contact everyone will call. Check emergency plans already in place for family members' school and work. Make a plan for pets and livestock. Visit or for more information.
5.Get informed
Anywhere it rains flash flooding and major flooding can happen- any time. Listen to weather watches and warnings with a NOAA weather radio, weather notification app for your mobile device, or your local media. Know the weather terms and what each means:

  • Flood Watch - Flooding is possible in your area. Stay tuned.

  • Flood Warning - Flooding is occurring or will occur soon. Be ready to evacuate.

  • Flash Flood Watch - Flash flooding is possible. Be ready to seek to higher ground.

  • Flash Flood Warning - Flash flooding is occurring. Seek higher ground. When driving, remember to "turn around, don't drown!"

In any emergency, always listen to the instructions given by local emergency management officials. Keep your "government alerts" enabled on your smart phone or download a weather alert app for wireless emergency alerts (WEA). For more information, visit

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