TALLAHASSEE - National Flood Safety Awareness Week is March 18 – 22 and the Florida Division of Emergency Management encourages residents and visitors to take time this week to learn about flood safety. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) have joined together in an effort to inform citizens about flood risk and the potential impact it has on people and property.

“Last year, many Floridians across the state experienced the affects of flooding, during Tropical Storms Beryl and Debby, Hurricane Isaac and other isolated weather events,” said FDEM Director Bryan W. Koon. “Floridians should take this opportunity to understand the impacts flooding can have and learn how they can protect their families and businesses by reviewing their flood risks and taking necessary steps to be better prepared.”

Flooding is one of Florida’s most frequent natural hazards and all three types of floods can occur in Florida. Areal floods are the most common type of flood and can cause considerable damage in urban areas. Areal floods occur due to prolonged rainfall over several days, intense rainfall over a short period of time, or when a river or stream overflows, flooding the surrounding area. Flash floods occur within six hours of a rain event, or following a sudden release of water held by a dam or levee. River flooding can be forecasted, but still can cause extensive damage. Due to the relatively flat terrain across Florida, it is complicated to drain accumulated water. When rivers rise, water tends to spread out far from riverbanks.

To avoid getting caught in a flood, follow these safety rules:

If you have to leave your home, remember these evacuation tips:

One of the most important things you can do to protect your home and family before a flood is to have a family or business emergency plan and to purchase a federal flood insurance policy. For more information on the week, tips on protecting your home, and how to purchase flood insurance, please visit www.FloodSmart.gov. 

For more information on the Florida Division of Emergency Management and to GET A PLAN!, please visit:www.FloridaDisaster.org, and follow FDEM on Twitter at @FLSERT and on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/FloridaSERT andwww.Facebook.com/kidsgetaplan.