GEORGETOWN COUNTY, S.C. (WCBD)– Georgetown County officials are urging neighbors to take precautions as rivers in the area continue to rise.
As the county prepares for historic flooding and thousands of residents are asked to evacuate, Ready.gov offers valuable tips to help residents through that process.
The county provided the information below.
For residents who live in low-lying areas or near rivers/streams that are expected to flood this week, authorities ask you to evacuate to get you and your family out of harm’s way.
If you are asked to evacuate, do so in a timely manner. Remember your people (family, pets), prescriptions, paper (important documents), personal needs (hygiene products, etc.), and valuable or priceless items (family mementos, pictures, jewelry, art, etc.). If you are in the path of a slow-onset flood as we are now, and you have time before you need to evacuate, consider the following strategies:
· Move items you want to protect to a higher floor.
· Turn off gas if you know how and can do it safely.
· According to City of Georgetown Electric, residents who are planning to leave their home or business during the flooding event are strongly encouraged to turn the main disconnect off for their electric service. Do not touch electrical equipment if it is wet or you are standing in water.
If Floodwater is Present
If you see water on roads, walkways, bridges, or on the ground, do not attempt to cross. You may not be able to tell how deep the water is or if the surface underneath is damaged. Do not move or go around cones or barricades. Those caught doing so by law enforcement will be cited. Additionally, moving road barricades could be a fatal decision in cases where water is deep or roadways are damaged.
In a Building
· Go to the highest level of the building but do not climb into a closed attic because you might become trapped by rising water.
· Go onto your roof only if necessary and signal for help.
In a Vehicle
· If floodwater is blocking your evacuation route but you can turn around safely, turn around and go to a building on high ground.
· If your vehicle is trapped in rapidly moving water, stay in the vehicle. If water is rising inside the vehicle, try to climb to the roof and signal for help.
· Move to higher ground and climb as high as possible on a sturdy object if necessary.
If You Evacuated
· Return home only when local officials say it is safe to do so.
· Be aware of areas where floodwaters have receded and watch out for debris.
· Do not drive through areas that are still flooded.
If You Stayed in the Area or As You Return
· Stay out of any building, including your home that is surrounded by floodwaters.
· Use extreme caution when entering flooded buildings; there could be hidden damage. Protect yourself from electric shock, mold contamination, asbestos, and lead paint. If you turned off your electricity before evacuating, consider contacting your local power company or a qualified electrician to help with turning the power back on and making your property safe from electrical hazards following the flood. Check for loose boards and slippery floors.
· Don’t touch electrical equipment if it is wet or you are standing in water.
· Use flashlights, not lanterns, torches, or matches, to examine buildings. Flammable gases may be inside the structure and open flames can cause a fire or explosion.
· If you turned off your gas, a licensed professional is required to turn it back on.
· Carbon monoxide exhaust kills. Use a generator or other gasoline-powered machine ONLY outdoors and away from windows so the fumes don’t get inside. The same goes for camping stoves; cook only with charcoal outside.
· Stay away from moving water, especially near rivers, streams, drainage systems, and coastal areas.
· Avoid wading in floodwater which can be contaminated with oil, gasoline, or raw sewage.
· Watch for dangerous debris (broken glass, metal fragments), dead animals, alligators, or venomous snakes that might be in the water.
· Stay away from downed power lines and report them to 9-1-1 or the power company’s emergency number.
· Stay away from damaged areas.
Health and Sanitation
· Listen to local authorities to make sure your water is safe and a boil water advisory is not in effect.
· Service damaged septic tanks and leaching systems as soon as possible.
· Have wells checked for contamination from bacteria and chemicals.
· Clean and disinfect everything that got wet using protective equipment such as gloves, safety glasses, and face masks.
· Throw out any food, including canned goods, that was not maintained at a proper temperature or has been exposed to floodwaters. Do not eat food from a flooded garden. When in doubt, throw it out.
· Remove and replace any drywall or other paneling that has been under water. Use a moisture meter to make sure that wooden studs and framing are dry before replacing the drywall.
· Photograph damage to your property – inside and out – and contact your insurance agent.