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Safety Tips Before & After a Flood
Safety Tips Before a Flood
Keep emergency supplies. Non-perishable food, water, batteries, flashlights, a manual can opener, and a battery-operated radio should be kept available. Keep a supply of sandbags on hand. Plywood, plastic sheeting, and lumber can be used to protect your property. Sandbags cannot be stored for a long time because burlap bags filled with sand or dirt will rot. Sandbags must be filled immediately before or during a storm. Sandbags should only be half full of sand and it is important to note that sandbags will not completely seal out water.

Prepare an evacuation plan. Learn the safest route to high, safe ground if you have to evacuate in a hurry. Decide on a place where your family can meet during and after a flood.

Storm Drains. If you see debris blocking the gutter or the storm drain, do your part by removing it. This will help to maintain the flow of rainwater into the storm drain, and help prevent backups and flooding in your neighborhood.  If it appears to be a significant blockage, or if the drain is already overflowing, call East Palo Alto Police Dispatch at 650-321-1112.

Safety Tips During a Flood
Tune-in to local commercial radio or television stations, including: KCBS - AM 740, KGO - AM 810, KSJX - AM 1500 (Vietnamese), KQED - FM 88.5, KSOL - FM 98.9 (Spanish), KSJO - FM 92, and KZST - FM 100.1 to listen for warning bulletins and any corresponding emergency instructions. The city will order or advise evacuations if conditions warrant this action. If evacuations are called for, it is imperative that you follow instructions in the time frame noted. The Office of Emergency Services facilitates the alert systems for San Mateo County, including East Palo Alto. Currently, we have a telephone system and a text messaging system. SMCAlert (Roam) is a county-wide alert system that text messages information to cell phones, pagers, email and handheld devices. To sign up to receive these notifications, please go to the SMCAlert website.

Avoid flood waters. Be cautious. Flood waters rise rapidly, so be prepared to evacuate before flood waters reach your property. If dangerous flooding conditions are imminent, avoid driving a vehicle if possible. Six inches of water will reach the bottom of passenger cars and will cause the loss of control or stalling. A foot of water will float most vehicles. Two feet of rushing water will carry away most vehicles, including trucks and SUVs. If you are in a stalled car, abandon it as quickly as possible. Flood waters can rise quickly and sweep a car away. Many deaths have occurred from attempts to move stalled vehicles. Do not attempt to drive or wade through deep pockets of water. If you are caught by suddenly rising waters, move to the second floor, or the roof if necessary. Take warm clothing, a radio and flashlight with you. Wait for help. Do not swim for safety. Rescue teams will be looking for you.

Avoid low-lying areas. If outside, look for higher ground. Seek shelter in the highest areas possible. Unstable banks should be avoided.

Disable utilities. If your property is in imminent danger of flooding, please contact PG&E to request that your power and natural gas be shut off, or for guidance on how to do it yourself. Turn off utilities at the main power switch and close the main gas valve. Do not touch any electrical equipment unless it is in a dry area and you are standing on a piece of dry wood while wearing rubber gloves and rubber soled boots or shoes.

Ensure that you have a safe source of drinking water. Fill bathtubs, sinks and jugs with clean water in case regular supplies are contaminated. You can sanitize these items by first rinsing with bleach