Floods in New Mexico, floods can occur quickly. It is important to have an emergency plan and to be prepared before storms hit your area. When storms hit stay away from arroyos, ditches and acequias. Learn about your community's emergency's plans, warning signals, evacuation routes and locations of area emergency shelters.
Wildfire damage to the area of the headwaters of a watershed can increase the magnitude, intensity and frequency of downstream flooding events that typically follow monsoon events. Additionally houses that flood are also prone to mold growth.
- Contact local county resource such as the county manager's office or the planning and zoning committee to find out if your home is located in a flash-flood-prone area or landslide-prone area.
- Learn about your community's emergency plans, warning signals, evacuation routes, and locations of emergency shelters.
- Have an emergency plan.
- If your water comes from a private water well, slope the area around the well so that water flows away from the well head. Ensure that the well is properly sealed.
- Plan and practice a flood evacuation route with your family.
- Ask an out-of-state relative or friend to be the "family contact" in case your family is separated during a flood.
- Make sure everyone in your family knows the name, address, and phone number of this contact person.
- Post emergency phone numbers at every phone in the home and program emergency numbers into your mobile phones.
- Inform local authorities about any special needs, such as the elderly or bedridden people, or disabled family members.
- Identify potential home hazards and know how to secure or protect them before the flood strikes.
- Be prepared to turn off electrical power when there is standing water, fallen power lines, or before you evacuate.
- Secure structurally unstable building materials.
- Buy a fire extinguisher and make sure your family knows where it is and how to use it.
- Buy and install sump pumps with back-up power.
- Have a licensed electrician raise electric components (switches, sockets, circuit breakers and wiring) at least 12" above your home's projected flood elevation. For drains, toilets, and other sewer connections, install back-flow valves or plugs to prevent floodwater from entering.
- If you are driving, stay away from arroyos, acequias, ditches, and flood plains even if those areas have not yet received floodwaters. In New Mexico, floodwaters can build up quickly and unexpectedly.
- Gather the emergency supplies you previously stocked in your home and stay tuned to local radio or television station for updates.
- Be prepared to turn off all utilities at the main power switch and close the main gas valve if evacuation appears necessary.
- Have your immunization records handy or be aware of your last tetanus shot, in case you should receive a puncture wound or a wound becomes contaminated during or after the flood.
- Bring outdoor possessions, such as lawn furniture, grills and trash cans inside or tie them down securely.
- Prepare to evacuate.
If it appears that evacuation may be necessary, it's important to be prepared for a quick departure, for time spent away from your home or a time without utilities. You should:
- Fill your vehicle's gas tank and make sure the emergency kit for your car is ready.
- Load your vehicle with the supplies your prepared such as portable water containers, food, and essential items.
- If no vehicle is available, make arrangements with friends or family for transportation.
- Review your emergency plans and supplies, checking to see if any items are missing.
- Tune in the radio or television for weather updates.
- Listen for disaster sirens and warning signals.
- Put livestock and family pets in a safe area or designated shelter. Due to food and sanitation requirements, emergency shelters cannot accept animals.
- Turn off all utilities at the main power switch and close the main gas valve if evacuation appears necessary.
What To Do If You Are Ordered To EvacuateYou should never ignore an evacuation order. Authorities will direct you to leave if you are in a low-lying area or within the greatest potential path of the rising waters. If a flood warning is issued for your area or you are directed by authorities to evacuate the area:
- Take essential items with you that you have prepared such as your emergency kit, water, and personal items.
- If you have time, disconnect appliances to prevent electrical shock when power is restored.
- Follow the designated evacuation routes and expect heavy traffic.
- Do not attempt to drive or walk across arroyos, acequias, irrigation ditches or flooded roads.
- Remain calm and stay informed.
- For more information on emergency preparedness please contact the Bureau of Health Emergency Management at 505 476-8295.
Whether you must evacuate or stay put, you should be prepared for long periods of power outages. Adjust the thermostat on refrigerators and freezers to the coolest possible temperature and avoid frequently opening these to help keep food at safe temperatures. Fill bathtubs, sinks and bottles with clean water to so you may have a supply of water on hand for basic needs. (Sanitize the sinks and tubs first. Rinse and fill with clean water). Fill your clean water containers. Have handy several flashlights and batteries.
If you live in area likely to experience flooding (including areas that may be affected by wildfire and flooding) and have a private well, follow these tips to help protect your well and respond should a flood occur:
Learn more about private wells and water quality.
- Maintain your private well and keep records of well maintenance
- Keep chemical and other contaminants away from the well head including keeping animal waste piles located where water will not flow toward the well
- Make sure the well has a cap or sanitary seal
- Have the well water tested annually for bacteria, nitrates, pH and conductivity
- Make sure that the ground is sloped away from the well so that surface water flows away instead of towards the well head.
- A well contractor can assist with other protective measures including:
- Make sure that well casing extends at least 18 inches above land surface (NMAC 19.27.4).
- If you have a well pit, consider upgrading
Learn more about private wells and water quality.