Before the Storm
Flood Issue Contact Numbers
In an emergency, call 911. For storm related maintenance issues including downed trees call 909 559-6205.
Up to 10 empty sandbags are available per City household or business owner at the four City of Redlands Fire Stations.
- Station 261 – 525 E. Citrus
- Station 262 – 1690 Garden
- Station 263 – 10 W. Pennsylvania
- Station 264 – 1270 W. Park Avenue
Sand and shovels are available at the City Corporate Yard at 1270 W Park Ave.
Flood Safety Preparation
As Southern California prepares for flooding, the City of Redlands has developed an emergency plan to prepare for the potential of heavy rains and flooding. The following tips are intended to assist residents and businesses to protect lives and property.
General Checklist for Property Preparedness for Flooding
- Yard Clean-Up Make a general inspection of your entire yard area for dead trees or dead limbs, yard debris, outdoor furniture, or other objects that could be blown by storm winds. It is important not to over-trim trees as improper pruning actually leaves trees more vulnerable. Read more about proper tree care here.
- Drains and Gutters Make sure all drains and gutters are cleared of debris and functioning properly before the storm season. Storm water runoff from impermeable surfaces (e.g., roofs, driveways, and patios) should be directed into a collection system to avoid soil saturation.
- Roofs Inspect your roof, or hire a roofing contractor, to check for loose tiles, holes, or other signs of trouble.
- Retaining Walls Visually inspect all retaining wall drains, surface drains, culverts, ditches, etc. for obstructions or other signs of malfunction, before the storm season, and after every storm event.
- Slopes Visually inspect all sloped areas for signs of gullying, surface cracks, slumping etc. Also inspect patios, retaining walls, garden walls, etc. for signs of cracking or rotation.
- Bare Ground Make sure your yard does not have large bare areas which could be sources for mud-flows during a storm event. The fall is a good time to put down mulch and establish many native plants; it may be possible to vegetate these bare areas before the storm season.
- Storm Drains Visually inspect nearby storm drains, before the storm season and after every rain; if the storm drains are obstructed, clear the material from the drain or notify the Facilities and Community Services Department at 909-798-7655.
- Follow-up and Other Concerns If, after taking prudent steps to prepare your property for winter storms, you still have some concerns about slope stability, flooding, mud-flows, etc., consider stockpiling sandbags and plastic sheeting. The sandbags can be stacked to form a barrier to keep water from flooding low areas. Plastic sheeting and visqueen can be placed on slopes and secured with sand bags to prevent water from eroding the soil.
Before a Flood
Even if you’ve never experienced a flood, you ought to know what to do if flood waters threaten you, your family, and your community. The following tips from the National Flood Insurance Program are given as suggested guidelines. If you find yourself in a flood situation and do not know what to do, check with your local emergency managers.
Steps To Take Today
Make an itemized list of personal property, including furnishings, clothing, and valuables. Photographs of your home – inside and out – are helpful. These will assist your insurance adjuster in settling claims and will help prove uninsured losses, which are tax deductible.
- Learn the safest route from your home or place of business to high, safe ground if you should have to evacuate in a hurry.
- Keep a portable radio, emergency cooking equipment, food supply, and flashlights in working order, and keep extra batteries on hand.
- Buy flood insurance. You should contact your property/casualty agent or company about flood insurance, which is offered through the National Flood Insurance Program. Effective March 1, 1995, there is a 30-day waiting period (with two exceptions) for this policy to become effective, so don’t wait until a flood is coming to apply. Learn more at floodsmart.gov.
- Keep your insurance policies and a list of personal property in a safe place, such as a safe deposit box. Know the name, phone number, and location of the agent(s) who issued your policy
- Persons who live in frequently flooded areas AREAS should keep on hand materials such as sandbags, plywood, plastic sheeting, and lumber which can be used to protect property. (Remember, sandbags should not be stacked directly against the outer walls of a building, since, when wet, the bags may create added pressure on the foundation.) The City of Redlands generally maintains a stock of sandbags for emergency purposes. Residents can pick up unfilled sandbags from any Redlands Fire Station or at the Fire Administration Office at City Hall as long as Fire personnel are available and not on an emergency call. Residents will have to fill the sandbags themselves. Residents are also urged to make necessary advance preparations if they are aware of the potential for flooding on their property.
The following policy is used regarding the issuance of sandbags
Sandbags shall be given ONLY to residents or businesses* located within the City of Redlands. Sandbags shall only be for use at this location and not for locations outside of the City limits. Residents must provide identification and business owners or managers must provide information indicating their business is located within the City’s jurisdiction.
- Fill sand and shovels will be made available across from the City Corporate Yard at 1270 W. Park Ave. whenever significant rainfall is predicted for the area.
- Bags may also be purchased at most home improvement stores and filled at the City Corporate Yard.
- Bags are also available at the City’s Fire Stations. There is a limit of 10 sandbags to any one resident or business unless otherwise approved by the Director.
*Businesses excludes contractors
If you are a parent
- Know your local emergency phone numbers.
- Know the emergency plans for your children’s school.
- Prepare an evacuation plan for your family.
- Know ahead of time where emergency evacuation centers will be located.
- Keep a supply of sand bags handy. By filling them with either sand or soil, you can direct moving water away from your property.
- Make sure your children know their school’s and family’s emergency plans.
During a flood
Safety is the most important consideration. Since floodwaters can rise very rapidly, you should be prepared to evacuate before the water level reaches your property. Keep the following in mind:
- Have a Battery-powered radio tuned to a local station and follow emergency instructions.
- Be prepared to evacuate if necessary.
- Stay away from all flood control facilities.
- Be extremely cautious when driving. Do not attempt to drive through moving water. Follow all emergency traffic instructions.
- If you are caught in your home by rising waters, move to the second floor and, if necessary, to the roof. Take warm clothing, a flashlight, and a portable radio with you. Then wait for help . . . don’t try to swim to safety. Rescue teams will be looking for you.
- If, and only if, time permits… there are several precautionary steps that can be taken:
- Turn off all utilities at the main power switch and close the main gas valve if evacuation is likely. Do not touch any electrical equipment unless it is in a dry area and you are standing on a piece of dry wood while wearing rubber gloves and rubber-soled boots or shoes.
- Move valuable papers, furs, jewelry, clothing, and other contents to upper floors or higher elevations.
- Fill bathtubs, sinks, and jugs with clean water in case regular supplies are contaminated. You can sanitize these items by first rinsing with bleach.
- Board up windows or protect them with storm shutters.
- Bring outdoor possessions inside the house or tie them down securely. This includes lawn furniture, garbage cans, tools, signs, and other movable objects that might be swept away or hurled about.
- When outside the house, remember…floods are deceptive. Avoid flooded roads, and don’t attempt to walk through floodwaters.
If it is safe to evacuate by car, you should
consider the following:
- Stock the car with nonperishable foods (like canned goods), a plastic container of water, blankets, first aid kit, flashlights, dry clothing, and any special medication needed by your family.
- Keep the gas tank at least half full since gasoline pumps will not be working if the electricity is cut off.
- Do not drive where the water is over the roads. Parts of the road may already be washed out.
- If your car stalls in a flooded area, abandon it as soon as possible. Floodwaters can rise rapidly and sweep a car (and its occupants) away. Many deaths have resulted from attempts to move stalled vehicles.
After a Flood
If your home, apartment, or business has suffered flood damage, immediately call the agent or company who handles your flood insurance policy. The agent will then submit a loss form to the National Flood Insurance Program. An adjuster will be assigned to inspect your property as soon as possible.
- Prior to entering a building, check for structural damage. Make sure it is not in danger of collapsing. Turn off any outside gas lines at the meter or tank. If you smell gas, call your utility company immediately.
- Upon entering the building, do not use an open flame as a source of light since gas may still be trapped inside – use a battery-operated flashlight.
- Watch for downed electrical wires. Make certain that the main power switch is turned off. Do not turn on any lights or appliances until an electrician has checked the system for short circuits.
- Cover broken windows and holes in the roof or walls to prevent further weather damage.
- Proceed with immediate clean-up measures to prevent any health hazards. Perishable items pose a health problem and should be listed and photographed before discarding. Throw out fresh food and medicines that have come in contact with flood waters.
- Water for drinking and food preparation should be used only if the public water system has been declared safe. In an emergency, water may be obtained by draining a hot water tank or melting ice cubes.
- Take pictures of the damage to your building and contents. Refrigerators, sofas and other hard goods should be hosed off and kept for the adjuster’s inspection. Use a household cleanser to clean items to be kept. Any partially damaged items should be dried and aired; the adjuster will make recommendations as to repair or disposal.
- Take all wooden furniture outdoors to dry, but keep it out of direct sunlight to prevent warping. A garage or carport is a good place for drying. Remove drawers and other moving parts as soon as possible, but do not pry open swollen drawers from the front. Instead, remove the backing and push the drawers out.
- Shovel out mud while it is still moist to give walls and floors a chance to dry. Once plastered walls have dried, brush off loose dirt. Wash with household cleanser and rinse with clean water; always start at the bottom and work up. Ceilings are done last. Special attention must also be paid to cleaning out heating ducts and plumbing systems.
- Mildew can be removed from dry wood with a solution of 1 cup liquid chlorine bleach, in 1 gallon of water.
- Clean metal at once then wipe with a kerosene-soaked cloth. A light coat of oil will prevent iron from rusting. Scour all utensils, and, if necessary, use fine steel wool on unpolished surfaces. Aluminum may be brightened by scrubbing with a solution of vinegar, cream of tartar, and hot water.
- Quickly separate all laundry items to avoid running colors. Clothing or household fabrics should be allowed to dry (slowly, away from direct heat) before brushing off loose dirt. If you cannot get a professional cleaner, rinse the items in lukewarm water to remove lodged soil. Then wash with mild detergent; rinse and dry in sunlight.
- Flooded basements should be drained and cleaned carefully. Structural damage will occur if water is pumped out too quickly. After the floodwaters around your property have subsided, begin draining the basement in stages, about one-third of the water volume each day.
What does national flood insurance mean to you?
Until the late 1960s, flood insurance was practically unavailable to home and business owners. Therefore, Congress voted in 1968 to create the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). This Federal program provides flood insurance at reasonable cost in exchange for the careful management of flood-prone areas by local communities.
Today, you can insure almost any enclosed building and its contents against flood loss, as long as your community is participating in the NFIP.
- Remember, most standard homeowner’s policies do not cover flood loss. For more details on flood insurance protection, call your agent or company today.
- Make it your policy to protect your family against devastating flood losses.
- Learn more at floodsmart.gov
Landslides, mud and debris flows
Landslides occur in every state and U.S. territory. The Pacific Coastal Ranges have experienced severe landslide problems. Any area composed of very weak or fractured materials resting on a steep slope can and will likely experience landslides. Although the physical cause of many landslides can’t be removed, geologic investigations, good engineering practices, and effective enforcement of land-use management regulations can reduce landslide hazards. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) scientists continue to produce landslide susceptibility maps for many areas in the United States. In every state, USGS scientists monitor stream flows, noting changes in sediment load carried by rivers and streams that may result from landslides. Hydrologists with expertise in debris and mud flows are studying these hazards in volcanic regions. (Information provided by USGS)
What is a landslide?
The term landslide includes a wide range of ground movement, such as rock falls, deep failure of slopes, and shallow debris flows. Although gravity acting on an over-steepened slope is the primary reason for a landslide, there are other contributing factors including the following:
- Erosion by rivers, glaciers, or ocean waves create over-steepened slopes
- Rock and soil slopes are weakened through saturation by snow-melt or heavy rains
- Earthquakes create stresses that make weak slopes fail
- Earthquakes of magnitude 4.0 and greater have been known to trigger landslides
- Volcanic eruptions produce loose ash deposits, heavy rain, and debris flows
- Excess weight from accumulation of rain or snow, stockpiling of rock or ore, from waste piles, or from man-made structures may stress weak slopes to failure and other structures Slope material that becomes saturated with water may develop a debris flow or mud flow. The resulting slurry of rock and mud may pick up trees, houses, and cars, thus blocking bridges and tributaries causing flooding along its path.
Landslides constitute a geologic hazard because they are widespread, occur in all 50 states and U.S. territories, and cause $1-2 billion in damages and more than 25 fatalities on average each year. Expansion of urban and recreational developments into hillside areas leads to more people that are threatened by landslides each year. Landslides commonly occur in connection with other major natural disasters such as earthquakes, volcanoes, wildfires, and floods.
The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) developed the National Landslide Hazards Mitigation Strategy – A Framework for Loss Reduction Report. This circular outlines key elements of comprehensive and effective national strategy for reducing losses from landslides nationwide and provides assessment of the status, needs, and associated costs of this strategy. The circular is submitted in compliance with a directive of Public Law 106-113.
A broad spectrum of expert opinion was sought in developing this strategy report, as requested by the U.S. Congress in House Report 106-222. The strategy was developed in response to the rising costs resulting from landslide hazards in the United States. The strategy gives the Federal Government a prominent role in efforts to reduce losses due to landslide hazards, in partnership with State and local governments.
The USGS has taken the lead in developing the strategy on behalf of the large multi sector, multi agency stakeholder group involved in landslide hazards mitigation. The USGS derives its leadership role in landslide hazard-related work from the Disaster Relief Act of 1974 (Stafford Act). For example, the Director of the USGS has been delegated the responsibility to issue disaster warnings for an earthquake, volcanic eruption, landslide, or geologic catastrophe (1974 Disaster Relief Act 42 U.S.C. 5201 et seq).
The National Landslide Hazards Mitigation Strategy includes developing new partnerships among government at all levels, academia, and the private sector and expanding landslide research, mapping, assessment, real-time monitoring, forecasting, information management and dissemination, mitigation tools, and emergency preparedness and response. Such a strategy uses new technologies advances, enlists the expertise associated with other related hazards such as floods, earthquakes and volcanic activity, and utilizes incentives for the adoption of loss reduction measures nationwide.