Turn Around, Don't Drown!

 

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Flood Safety Information

* Monitor the NOAA Weather Radio, or your favorite news source for vital weather related information.
* If flooding occurs, get to higher ground. Get out of areas subject to flooding. This includes dips, low spots, drainage ditches, canyons, washes etc.
* Avoid areas already flooded, especially if the water is flowing fast. Do not attempt to cross flowing streams. Turn Around Don't Drown™
* Road beds may be washed out under flood waters. NEVER drive through flooded roadways - you do not know the condition of the road under the water. Turn Around Don't Drown™
* Do not camp or park your vehicle along streams and washes, particularly during threatening conditions.  Move to higher ground if heavy rain or rising water occurs.  Creeks and streams can rise very rapidly during heavy rainfall.
* Be especially cautious at night when it is harder to recognize flood dangers.
* If you must evacuate your home, secure your home and if possible, turn off utilities at the main switches or valves if instructed to do so. Disconnect electrical appliances. Do not touch electrical equipment if you are wet or standing in water.
* Do not walk through moving water. Six inches of moving water can make you fall. If you have to walk in water, walk where the water is not moving. Use a stick to check the firmness of the ground in front of you.
* Do not drive into flooded areas. 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 quickly swept away.
* Six inches of water will reach the bottom of most passenger cars causing loss of control and possible stalling.
* A foot of water will float many vehicles.
* Two feet of rushing water can carry away most vehicles including sport utility vehicles (SUV’s) and pick-ups.

Play it smart, play it safe. Whether driving or walking, any time you come to a flooded road, TURN AROUND, DON'T DROWN!

 

Floodwater Safety

Use caution when dealing with flood waters. Flood waters may contain snakes and insects; sharp objects and debris; and oil, gasoline, industrial waste, or raw sewage.

To avoid illness and injury from floodwaters, the Oklahoma State Dept. of Health suggests the following:
* Keep children and pets from playing in flood water.
* Clean all items touched by floodwaters, including children’s toys. Use one cup of household bleach in five gallons of water.
* Throw away items that cannot be washed such as mattresses, stuffed animals, baby toys, and wood cutting boards, as well as food that may have come into contact with flood waters.
* Wash hands often with soap and clean water or use an alcohol-based sanitizer.
* Seek immediate attention if you become injured or ill.
* To protect your family and yourself, avoid floodwaters if possible.

Additional Flood Safety Information from the NWS


 

What Is Turn Around Don't Drown™ (TADD)?

TADD is a National Weather Service campaign to warn people of the hazards of walking or driving a vehicle through flood waters. Several counties in Eastern Oklahoma have Turn Around Don't Drown signs posted at locations where flash flooding often leads to water over the roads.

  • Mayes County has attached these warning signs to road barricades beginning in the summer of 2009 in order to reinforce the danger of a flooded roadway.  In addition, gates and TADD signs have been installed on S. Elliot street on the south side of Pryor.  Additional signs have been posted around the county.
  • Tulsa City/County installed signs in Fall 2009 at two frequently flooded locations: 1) 800 N. Lewis where the street goes under railroad tracks and flood waters have risen to within inches of the clearance sign under the bridge 2) Elwood Ave. between 81st and 91st Streets near the Jones Riverside Airport.  This road has a series of dips that frequently become flooded.
  • The Osage Nation has a Turn Around Don't Drown campaign as part of its Injury Prevention Program through the Emergency Management office. Like many counties across eastern Oklahoma and northwest Arkansas, Osage County has approximately 100 low water crossings that can create dangerous conditions when water is flowing over the road.  In March 2010, TADD signs were installed at two of these low water crossings: 1) CR2350 at Birch Creek between Barnsdall and Wynona 2) CR2466 at Bird Creek just north of Barnsdall (between State Highways 99 and 123)
  • Pittsburg County officials installed a set of TADD signs in March 2010 along State Highway 51 approximately 5 miles west of McAlester.  According to Emergency Management Officials, "this location has flooded for many years and people have become complacent about driving into water over the road.  In recent years, there have been several water rescues and cars drown out in the water."  
  • Crawford County officials installed a set of TADD signs in February 2012 along Pevehouse Rd in Van Buren.  According to Emergency Management Officials, the low water bridge at this location floods 30 to 40 times each year, slowing response time for emergency services.  Several swift water rescues have also been needed at this location. 
  • The Oklahoma Floodplain Managers Association (OFMA) has a TADD poster contest every year for 4th grade students, as well as additional TADD resources including a video and teacher resources.  The NWS, in cooperation with OFMA, is providing TADD signs to cooperating agencies throughout Oklahoma. 

These TADD Warning Signs are compliant with the Federal Highway Administration's regulations and can be produced and deployed as an official road sign. If your community would like more information on purchasing these signs, contact the Service Hydrologist at the NWS Tulsa office. Civic groups may consider donating or raising money to give to their local community officials for purchase of these TADD signs.

 

stack of TADD signs
Mayes County TADD signs attached to barricades (Photo by Mayes Co. Emergency Management)
TADD sign and gate installed on S. Elliot St. in Pryor (Mayes Co.) (Photo by Nicole McGavock, NWS)
   
TADD sign unveiling in Pittsburg Co. TADD sign Mayes Co.
Dedication ceremony with Pittsburg County Officials for the TADD sign installed on State Highway 51, 5 miles west of McAlester (Photo by Lois Lupardus, McAlester/Pittsburg Co. Emergency Management) Dedication ceremony with Mayes County and City of Pryor Officials for the TADD sign installed on S. Elliot St. in Pryor (Photo courtesy of Bill Robison, OFMA)
 
Tulsa Co. TADD sign Tulsa Co. TADD sign
TADD sign installed at 81st and Elwood in Tulsa near Jones Riverside Airport (Photo by TAEMA) TADD sign installed at 800 N. Lewis in Tulsa (Photo by TAEMA)
 
Osage Co. TADD sign
Osage Co. low water crossing
TADD sign installed on CR2350 in Osage County (Photo by Nicole McGavock, NWS)
Birch Creek flowing over CR2350 in Osage County (Photo by Bobby Tallchief, Osage Nation Emergency Management)
  
Crawford County TADD sign Crawford county TADD  
TADD sign being installed on Pevehouse Rd. Van Buren in Crawford County Arkansas (Photo by Nicole McGavock, NWS) TADD sign on Pevehouse Rd. Van Buren in Crawford County Arkansas. (Photo by Nicole McGavock, NWS)
water over Pevehouse Rd.  
High water flooding Pevehouse Rd. where TADD sign was installed. (Photo by Crawford County Emergency Management)  

 

Why is Turn Around Don't Drown™ So Important?

Each year, more deaths occur due to flooding than from any other severe weather related hazard. The Centers for Disease Control report that over half of all flood-related drownings occur when a vehicle is driven into hazardous flood water. The next highest percentage of flood-related deaths is due to walking into or ear flood waters.Why? The main reason is people underestimate the force and power of water. Many of the deaths occur in automobiles as they are swept downstream. Of these drownings, many are preventable, but too many people continue to drive around the barriers that warn you the road is flooded.

 

What Can I Do to Avoid Getting Caught is This Situation?

Most flood-related deaths and injuries could be avoided if people who come upon areas covered with water followed this simple advice: Turn Around Don't Drown™.

The reason that so many people drown during flooding is because few of them realize the incredible power of water. A mere six inches of fast-moving flood water can knock over an adult. It takes only two feet of rushing water to carry away most vehicles. This includes pickups and SUVs.

 


Image courtesy of the Tulsa World

If you come to an area that is covered with water, you will not know the depth of the water or the condition of the ground under the water. This is especially true at night, when your vision is more limited.


AP Photo Dave Martin

 Play it smart, play it safe. Whether driving or walking, any time you come to a flooded road, TURN AROUND, DON'T DROWN!

 

TADD Poster Contest

The  Oklahoma Floodplain Managers Association also promotes TADD education and outreach.  The organization hosts a TADD poster contest for 4th Grade students and has additional TADD resources available on their website. 

 

For ongoing information on the threat for heavy rain, flash flooding, and other severe weather, visit the NWS Tulsa Decision Support Page.

Additional information on ongoing and forecast River Flooding, please visit the NWS Tulsa Rivers & AHPS page.

 

 


Flooding in Claremore May 1, 2009 (Courtesy of KJRH.com, Randy Lane)

 


Flooding along Hwy 66 in Claremore May 1, 2009 (Courtesy of KTUL.com, Brett Miller)

 

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