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How to Stay Safe During a Flash Flood

If you’ve never witnessed a flash flood, chances are, you’ll be unprepared for the fast, powerful flooding. They can happen anywhere—even densely-populated urban environments—and cause property damage, injury and sometimes even death. Before you head out on a salmon charter fishing trip in Alaska, you should brush up on your flash flood safety tips.

What is a flash flood?

A flash flood can occur anywhere, usually due to heavy rainfall from severe storms. However, they can also start after mudslides, dam breakage and storm surges. They may appear with absolutely no warning, making it impossible to prepare yourself or your property in time.

You should also know the difference between flood watches and flood warnings. If you hear of a flash flood watch, that simply means there is an increased likelihood of flash floods occurring—stay tuned to the news and get your supplies ready in the event that you have to evacuate. A flash flood warning means flooding has already started and will be in your area soon. Keep listening to the news, stay on high ground and follow any evacuation orders.

How do I stay safe during a flash flood?

Here are some tips to ensure you stay safe in the event of a flash flood:

  • Have an emergency kit at the ready: You should always have a basic emergency kit with first aid supplies, flashlights, battery-powered radios, medications and other supplies on hand. Should you be caught in a flood, this can help you wait out the flood until help arrives.
  • Stay tuned to local news: Use your radio to stay tuned to a local news station, and follow all evacuation orders as they come in.
  • Avoid crossing the waters: Remember the phrase “turn around, don’t drown.” It only takes six inches of water to knock an adult over, and cars can be swept away by just one foot of water. Turn around if you’re driving, and do not cross bridges over fast-moving water.
  • If trapped, go to the highest level of a building: If you’re in a building and can’t evacuate, go to the highest level (not the attic). Go on the roof only as a last resort.
  • Be especially cautious in the dark: Darkness makes it even harder to see what’s happening—flood hazards can look much less threatening at night.
  • Avoid downed power lines and standing water: Be cautious of any downed power lines, especially if they’re in standing water. Do your best to stay out of the water entirely, and call emergency services to let them know about the downed line.
  • Watch out for punctured gas lines: If you hear hissing or smell natural gas, leave the area immediately and call emergency services.

Knowing how to stay safe during a flash flood in Alaska is easy when you remember to stay away from the water as much as possible, not to take unnecessary risks and to always have an emergency kit ready.

Phantom Tri-River Charters offers exceptional Alaskan fishing trips, and our guides are armed with local knowledge about staying safe during floods. Call today to book your trip.