Code Enforcement Office
Answers Common Flood Questions
Be prepared for unexpected storms
Most of South Holland’s flooding and drainage problems occur during and after heavy storms. These can happen at any time, but are more common during the summer. There are many things that can be done to prepare for the storm and water problems that may follow, such as:
- Keep ditches, drainage swales, detention basins and storm sewer inlets clear of debris.
- Check with the code enforcement office to determine if your house is in a mapped flood plain or if there is a history of flood problems in your area. The code enforcement office can be visited at 16240 Wausau, or reached by calling 210-2915.
- Ask the code enforcement office about how to protect against water problems.
- During a rain, keep tuned to local radio or television stations to see if there is a tornado or flash flooding hazard.
- Make a record of all personal property. Go through the basement (if not the entire house) and record everything. Videotape or take photographs. Inventory forms are available free from most insurance companies or make one.
Do not walk through flowing water.
Drowning is the number one cause of flood deaths. Currents can be deceptive—six inches of moving water can knock an average-sized person off her feet. Use a pole or stick to ensure that the ground is still there before going through an area where the water is not flowing.
Do not drive through a flooded area.
More people drown in their cars than anywhere else. Don’t drive around road barriers—the road or bridge may be washed out.
Shut off electricity and gas.
Make sure these utilities are turned off before proceeding with further efforts. Call the fire department at 331-3123 for assistance.
Stay away from power lines and electrical wires.
The number two flood killer, after drowning, is electrocution. Electrical current can travel through water. Report downed power lines to the police department at 331-3131.
Look before you step.
After a flood, the ground and floors are covered with debris, including broken bottles and nails. Floors and stairs that have been covered with mud can be very slippery.
Be alert for gas leaks.
Use a flashlight to inspect for damage. Don’t smoke or use candles, lanterns, or open flames before checking that the gas has been turned off and the area has been ventilated.
Carbon monoxide exhaust kills.
Use a generator or other gasoline-powered machinery outdoors. The same goes for camping stoves. Charcoal fumes are especially deadly—cook with charcoal outdoors.
Clean everything that got wet.
Flood waters have picked up sewage and chemicals from roads, farms, factories, and storage buildings. Spoiled food, and flooded cosmetics and medicine can be health hazards. When in doubt, throw it out.
Take good care of yourself.
Recovering from a flood is a big job. It is tough on both the body and the spirit, and the effects that a disaster can have on a family may last a long time. Keep eyes open for any signs of anxiety, stress, and fatigue.
What to do when it floods
South Holland’s Flood Warning system is designed to supply Village officials with necessary data to make informed decisions in times of potential flooding in order to provide residents and businesses with timely assistance so that appropriate actions can be taken to minimize flood loss and casualties. Everyone did fine in previous floods and the system worked per design. But here are some reminders for residents:
If it is raining hard, tune to a local radio station to see if a flood watch or warning has been issued. For residents watching television, the cable override will issue a message. Then, tune to Cable Channel 45 for more information (provided by the Village in emergency situations). Otherwise, an initial notification may come when residents are addressed by a police car public address system. Be sure to follow safety tips.
The National Weather Service issues two types of flood notices: a flood watch and a flood warning. A flood watch indicates flooding is possible within the area described by the notice. A flood warning indicates flooding is imminent or occurring in the area described in the notice.
An extra measure of protection is wise for people living close to the Little Calumet river, Thorn Creek, or other drainage waterways. A NOAA weather radio can be purchased at local electronic stores for $10-$20 and will enable residents to monitor National Weather Service notices directly.