With flash flood season officially beginning in Southern Nevada today, Clark County Fire Department and Emergency Management officials are offering tips for a safe summer and encouraging residents to download a free emergency preparedness app to their smartphones.
"The summer monsoon season creates storm conditions that make us vulnerable to flash flooding in the Las Vegas Valley and rural areas throughout Clark County," said Clark County Deputy Fire Chief John Steinbeck, who oversees the County's Office of Emergency Management. "Wildland fires and lightning strikes also are common this time of year. We encourage everyone to download our community preparedness app to receive weather alerts, safety tips and other useful information right on your smartphone."
The Southern Nevada Community Preparedness App offers alerts and other information from Clark County and the neighboring cities. The app is available on Apple or Android devices and can be downloaded from the Office of Emergency Management's website pages: https://tinyurl.com/y3w86lx3. In addition to offering real-time emergency alerts, the app also allows users to develop a personalized emergency plan that includes building a kit tailored to your needs and creating a contact list to help you reconnect with loved ones in the event of an emergency. Residents also can sign up for free texts and email alerts through the multi-agency Southern Nevada On the Alert website at https://sonevada.onthealert.com/Terms/Index/?ReturnUrl=%2f.
The Fire Department pages on Clark County's website at ClarkCountyNV.gov offer a variety of safety tips. Some tips to keep in mind this summer include:
- Don't allow children or pets to play in or near floodwaters, which are fast moving and can contain dangerous debris and chemicals.
- Never drive through a flooded road or around barricades. It can be difficult to determine how deep floodwaters are and floodwaters can rise dramatically in minutes.
- If you are caught in a sudden storm that may cause flooding it is usually safer for you to stay where you are and wait out the storm rather than trying to drive through it.
- If you are driving when the storm hits, think about finding some ground higher than the street to pull onto until the storm passes.
- If you get stuck in a stalled car, it may be safer to stay with your vehicle. Fast moving water, even only a few inches deep can quickly sweep you off your feet.
- Flood insurance may be a wise investment for some residents, especially those who live next to a wash, by a street that floods, or at the bottom of a hill or cul de sac. More information about flood insurance is available on this website: https://www.floodsmart.gov/.
- Visit the Regional Flood Control District's website at: https://befloodsafe.com to learn more about flood safety and local efforts to prevent flooding.
Summer is the peak time of year for lightning strikes and lightning fires, according to the National Fire Protection Association. If you can hear thunder, you are close enough to a storm to be struck by lightning. If you feel your hair stand on end and feel tingly, it means lightning is about to strike. Crouch down and make yourself as small as possible. Additionally:
- If you are inside a home, don't stand near windows or doors.
- Stay off corded phones, computers and other electrical equipment that put you in direct contact with electricity. Cordless and cellular phones are safe to use.
- Avoid showering or bathing. Plumbing and bathroom fixtures conduct electricity.
- If you are outside and get caught in a thunderstorm, seek shelter immediately. Move indoors or into an enclosed car with the windows rolled up.
- If you in a boat or swimming pool, get to land and seek shelter immediately. Water is extremely dangerous when there is lightning.
- Get off elevated areas such as hills and mountain ridges. Move to low-lying areas such as a ditch or valley, but watch for flash floods.
- Move away from tall things such as trees, towers, fences, and telephone and power lines.
- If surrounded by trees, take shelter under shorter trees.
- Stay away from metal objects that conduct electricity such as umbrellas, motorcycles, bicycles, and wire fences.
Nevada's wildland fire season is May through October when vegetation is the driest. The following actions are recommended to prevent wildland fires:
- Clear vegetation and debris around your home to limit the potential amount of fire fuel.
- Properly soak and dispose of cigarette butts, charcoal briquettes and similar items that can start fires.
- Adhere to posted fire restrictions at Red Rock, Mount Charleston, Lake Mead and other federal lands areas in Southern Nevada.
- Equip all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) and similar vehicles with spark arrestors.
- Only fireworks labeled "safe & sane" are allowed and only July 1-July 4 in unincorporated areas of Clark County. (If you live in a local city, check with your jurisdiction for authorized sales dates.) Safe and sane fireworks include sparklers and fireworks that keep to a small, circular area on the ground and don't explode in the air. Please do NOT call 911 to report illegal fireworks. Usage complaints can be reported at www.ISpyFireworks.com as part of our You Light It, We Write It crackdown effort.
- When using a barbecue grill, make sure it is placed on a flat surface away from homes, deck railings and out from under eaves, overhanging branches and dry brush. Never leave a hot grill unattended. When you are finished grilling, let the coals cool completely before disposing in a metal container.