Safety and Preparation Advice for Flood Conditions

County Fire and Emergency Services Offers Suggestions to Stay Safe

Tips for personal safety during a flood: The Santa Barbara City Fire Department and Office of Emergency Services wants to remind you to stay safe by following the safety tips listed below.

• Avoid the urge to sight-see. Remind all household members, especially children, not to play or linger near flood control channels and storm drains.

• Do not walk through flowing water. Drowning is the number-one cause of flood deaths, mostly during flash floods. Currents can be deceptive; six inches of moving water can knock you off your feet.

Swift water at Junipero Street Bridge, December 20; photo by Chris Eckenrode

What should you do if you fall in moving water?

• Remain calm. Don’t waste energy yelling for help after someone has spotted you.

• Try to float on your back with your legs straight and your feet pointed downstream.

• Use your legs to shove yourself away from obstructions.

• Keep your head up so that you can see where you are going.

• Watch for obstacles and debris! If a tree or other stationary object is blocking the channel, forcing water over it, try to flip over on your stomach and approach the obstacle head-on, crawling over the top of it.

What if you see someone fall into moving water?

• Do not go into the water after the victim.

• Do not try to pull the victim out with your hands, rope, or similar device. Do not attach anything to yourself and toss it to a victim in the water. The force of the current will pull you in.

• If possible, throw a floatation device to the victim, such as a boogie board, styrofoam ice chest, basketball, or other unattached object.

• Immediately call 9-1-1. Tell the 9-1-1 operator that someone fell into the channel and is being swept downstream.

• Give accurate information about where and when you saw the victim and what the victim was wearing.

Santa Barbara County Sandbag Information

In preparing for changing weather conditions, sandbags are available at the County Corporate Yards in Santa Barbara (near the County Transfer Station), in Santa Maria on West Foster Road, at Fire Station 14 (Los Carneros Road in Goleta), at Montecito Fire Station #1 (San Ysidro Road in Montecito), the City of Carpinteria Public Works Department (5775 Carpinteria Avenue, Santa Barbara City Corporate Annex Yard (401 E. Yanonali Street from 7:30am to 3:30 pm, and Station 7 (2411 Stanwood Drive – 24 hours/day until further notice).


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