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Ready Marine Corps

Emergency Preparedness Program

Brought to You By Your Marine Corps Emergency Management Team
Marines push a car out of a flooded area during Hurricane Florence
Flooding is the most common natural disaster and can occur anywhere it rains. Flooding can be localized in a particular neighborhood or widespread, affecting entire cities or large portions of states and territories. Floods can develop over a period of days, giving you adequate time to prepare; however, flash floods can develop in a matter of minutes. Flash flood waters can be caused by heavy rain, levee breaches, or dam failures. Rushing flood waters can be deeper and stronger than they look. These waters also are destructive and can carry debris, rocks, and mud.

180915-M-JQ384-009 Photo by Lance Cpl. Isaiah Gomez
How To Prepare
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  • Verify and update official contact information in the Marine Corps Enterprise Mass Notification System (eMNS); register all cell phones, home phone, email addresses, etc. in eMNS
  • Determine whether your home or work place is in a predetermined floodplain.
  • If feasible, seal walls in basements with waterproofing compounds and construct barriers to redirect and stop floodwater from entering the building.
  • Obtain flood insurance. There is typically a 30-day waiting period from date of purchase before a new flood policy goes into effect.
  • Identify where you can go if you need to reach higher ground quickly and on foot.
  • Elevate the furnace, water heater, and electrical panel in your home if you live in an area that has a high flood risk.
  • Consider installing “check valves” to prevent flood water from backing up into the drains of your home.
  • Make a written evacuation plan.
  • Make a written emergency communication plan.
  • Build an emergency kit.
  • Flood Watch—Flooding is possible. Stay tuned to radio, TV, and eMNS alerts for more information.
  • Flash Flood Watch—Flash flooding is possible. Stay tuned to radio, TV, and eMNS alerts for more information. Be prepared to move to higher ground.
  • Flood Warning—Flooding is currently occurring or will occur soon. Listen for further instructions. If told to evacuate, do so immediately.
  • Flash Flood Warning—Flash flooding is currently occurring or will occur soon. Seek higher ground on foot immediately.
What To Do If There Is A Flood
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  • Move to higher ground immediately. Do not wait for instructions to move. If there is time, move important items to a top floor.
  • Stay tuned to the radio or TV for further information and instructions.
  • Take only essential items, including your family emergency kit.
  • Turn off gas, electricity, and water.
  • Disconnect appliances.
  • Make sure your car’s gas tank is full.
  • Do not walk in moving water.
  • Do not drive in flood water. As little as six inches of water can cause loss of control and stalling of a vehicle. 
  • If floodwaters rise around your car, abandon the car and move to higher ground if you can do so safely. You and the vehicle can be swept away quickly.
  • Follow the designated evacuation plan, and expect a high volume of traffic.
  • Stay tuned to emergency station on radio or TV and eMNS alerts.
  • Listen for further instructions.
  • Prepare to evacuate to a shelter or neighbor’s home if your home is damaged.
Follow your command’s protocols for personnel accountability and contact your command’s designated Point of Contact to check-in and report your location and situation.

Heavy rains caused by Hurricane Matthew in 2016 flooded Nicholas, S.C., which caused the evacuation of all its residents. Hurricane Matthew also prompted the evacuation of 6,000 Marine recruits from Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, S.C.  Photo by Tech. Sgt. Jorge Intriago, U.S. Air National Guard

A picture of flooding from Hurricane Matthew in 2016.

What to Do after a Flood
  • Listen to news reports for addi­tional flooding or flash floods that may occur and to make sure water supplies are not contaminated.
  • Beware of downed power lines.
  • Help emergency workers who will be assisting people in flooded areas by staying off the roads and out of the way.
  • Return home only when authorities indicate it is safe.
  • If you come upon a barricade, a flooded road, or a road where wa­ters have receded, go another way. Roads may be closed because they have been damaged or are still covered by water. Roads weakened by flood waters could collapse under the weight of a car.
  • Stay clear of flood waters (standing and moving) as they may be con­taminated or deeper than expected.
  • Be extremely cautious when entering buildings and homes as there may be unseen damage.
  • Clean and disinfect everything that was touched by flood water as it can contain sewage and other contami­nants.

Set your own course through any hazard: stay informed, make a plan, build a kit.
Live Ready Marine Corps.

Where to Find Additional Information

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)http://emergency.cdc.gov/disasters/floods/index.asp

Department of Homeland Security (Ready.gov)www.ready.gov/floods

The National Flood Insurance Programhttps://www.floodsmart.gov/


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