Flash Flood Safety Tips from The Valley Health System

An illustration of a hand offering a preservation ring to a stranded person

Though it’s been another very dry year in Southern Nevada, the summer monsoons and resulting flash floods can happen quickly, affecting your family’s health unless proper precautions are taken.

As fun as it may seem to play in the water during the rain, it’s not safe for a variety of reasons, including the speed of the water and what it is carrying. “The water is picking up garbage, fertilizer, oil, feces, rocks and everything else in its path. Swift-moving water can hide debris that can knock someone down or cause an injury,” says Jeff Davidson, MD, FACEP, Medical Director of the Emergency Department at Valley Hospital. “It’s better to limit your water play to swimming pools, splash pads or sprinklers.”

If you’ve been around flood waters, hygiene is also important, says Dr. Davidson. “Plan to wash your hands or take a shower, if you’ve been in or around flood water,” he said. “You don’t know where that water has been. It could be overflow from a sewer system, and you want to make sure you and your family practice good hygiene, wash all the clothes, clean all the footwear, and take precautions so it doesn’t affect your health.”

To keep your family safe in times of sudden weather changes such as flash floods, remember:

  • Do not drive or walk through water when you can’t see the street or pavement. Remember the phrase, “turn around, don’t drown.” Fast-moving water can sweep vehicles off the road, and make it difficult to see the condition of the road underneath the water. 
  • Know where the detention basins and washes are in your neighborhood and if it looks like rain, stay away from these areas. This could include walking, biking and hiking trails and other recreational areas.