Turn Around, Don't Drown

floodingWhen severe weather and heavy downpours strike, stay safe by remembering this simple phrase: Turn Around, Don’t Drown®. More than 50% of flood-related deaths are due to someone driving or walking into floodwaters. Water can be an extremely powerful force. As little as six inches of fast-moving flood water can knock an adult off their feet and twelve inches of moving water can carry away a small car! Larger vehicles aren’t immune to the danger either. It only takes 18-24 inches of water to sweep away larger trucks, vans, and SUVs.  

It is often more difficult than you think to judge the depth of a flooded area, especially at night. If you come upon an area that is covered with water, play it safe and turn around. If you inadvertently drive into a flooded area, attempt to remain calm and take the following steps:
  • Call 911 as soon as possible.
  • Turn on your headlights and hazard lights to make it easier for emergency personnel to see you.
  • Unbuckle your seat belt.
  • Unlock your doors.
  • Take off your coat or jacket.
  • Lower your window.
  • If windows won’t open, you will have to use a door to escape, but you won’t be able to open it until the pressure is equalized. This means that you will have to wait for water to enter the car and fill up to about neck level, which is terrifying but necessary.
  • Once free, climb onto the roof of your car and hang on to whatever you can. Pull a seatbelt strap from the car, if possible, or clutch the rails.
  • If water rises over the top of the car, swim to safety. 
There are over 4,000 acres of regulatory floodplain in our community. If you have any questions about floodplain requirements such as permitting, flood insurance, stormwater issues, to find out if your property is located within a floodplain, or to request a site visit, please contact Director of Community Development, Michael Zeek, at mzeek@marylandheights.com or (314) 291-6550. Learn more about flood safety at www.weather.gov/FloodSafety and