[The Flame In The Flood]Game & Fish, Red Cross offer monsoon safety tips

  As the Rim Country eagerly awaits the arrival the real monsoon, advice is coming in from all sides on how to deal with the season’s dangers.

  In a recent edition of the Roundup, tips on monsoon driving from the Arizona Department of Transportation were shared. Now we have something from the Arizona Game and Fish Department and Red Cross.

  Arizona Game and Fish

  Monsoon weather is just around the corner, and the Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD) cautions boaters and off-highway vehicle (OHV) users that weather conditions can quickly change and become dangerous for those who aren’t prepared.

  The severity of monsoon storms varies greatly from a minor dust storm to a violent thunderstorm capable of producing hail, deadly lightning and flash flooding.

  “Arizona is known for its often unbearable summer heat; it’s also known for great places to get outdoors, whether that’s on an OHV in the high country or one of our many lakes or rivers,” said Josh Hoffman, boating safety education coordinator.

  “However, it’s important for people to keep the day’s weather in mind. If severe weather is likely, or storms are starting to build up around you, it’s a good time to safely get off the water or trails and head indoors.”

  Paddlers who enjoy the water on a paddleboard should pay extra close attention to the weather.

  “In previous years most boaters caught in monsoon weather were paddlers,” Hoffman said.

  AZGFD offers the following advice to protect those recreating on a boat, personal watercraft or paddleboard during a monsoon:

  ? While life jackets are legally required for anyone under 12, everyone should wear a life jacket at all times while on the water. Storms can create large waves that could knock a passenger from the boat.

  ? Monitor the weather and use a weather radio or a weather app for updates from the National Weather Service. If storms are predicted, or are approaching, pull the boat out of the water or consider postponing the outing.

  ? Secure all gear above and below decks.

  ? Keep everyone aboard away from electrical and ungrounded components, and remain as low in the boat as possible.

  ? If there is lightning, disconnect all electrical equipment. Stay clear of metal objects as much as possible.

  ? Slow down, but keep enough power to maintain headway and steering.

  ? Turn on navigation lights.

  ? If possible, head for the nearest shore that is safe to approach. It might be best to ride out the storm in open water rather than try to approach the shore in heavy wind and waves.

  ? Boats should head the bow into waves at a 45-degree angle. Personal watercrafts should head directly into the waves.

  For more information on boating in Arizona, visit www.azgfd.com/Boating/.

  When riding an OHV:

  ? Always wear proper safety gear, including a helmet, eye protection, long sleeves, pants, over-the-ankle boots and gloves.

  ? Seek shelter indoors if storms are developing or are nearby.

  ? Never cross running water. While it can look shallow, it might be deep enough that it could push the vehicle downstream or get it stuck in loose sediment.

  ? Drive slowly to not lose control on muddied trails.

  ? To avoid being struck by lightning, avoid open fields, high ground, trees, poles or other tall objects, and standing bodies of water.

  ? Be aware of, and avoid, flash flood zones.

  For more information on riding an OHV in Arizona, visit www.azgfd.com/OHV/.

  Red Cross

  In recent years, parts of Arizona have seen major flooding and damage when rains have occurred on wildfire burn scar areas. With the most recent Telegraph and Mescal wildfires, all together burning over 160,000 acres, this trend will continue.

  The American Red Cross has steps people can take to remain safe from the dangers of flash floods.

  The monsoon brings various conditions, including thunderstorms, heavy rain, severe weather, and an increased risk of flooding. The Red Cross wants everyone to know what steps they can take to stay safe if potentially dangerous weather is predicted in your community.

  Heavy rain, flood safety tips

  ? “Turnaround, don’t drown!” If you must drive and you encounter a flooded roadway, turn around and go another way.

  ? If you are caught on a flooded road and waters are rising rapidly around you, get out of the car quickly and move to higher ground.

  ? Tune in to your local radio, NOAA radio, or news channels for the latest updates.

  ? If your neighborhood is prone to flooding, be prepared to evacuate quickly.

  ? Follow evacuation orders and do not attempt to return until officials say it is safe.

  ? If power lines are down, do not step in puddles or standing water.

  ? If power is out, use a flashlight. Do not use any open flame as alternate lighting.

  To prepare for a

  severe thunderstorm? Put together an emergency kit.

  ? Know your community’s evacuation plan.

  ? Create a household disaster plan and practice it.

  ? Have a battery-powered or hand-crank radio.

  ? Discuss thunderstorm safety with members of your household. Be aware that a thunderstorm could produce flooding.

  ? Pick a safe place in your home for household members to gather during a thunderstorm. This should be a place where there are no windows, skylights, or glass doors, which could be broken by strong winds or hail and cause damage or injury.

  Everyone is encouraged to download the free Red Cross Emergency App to access real-time information about storms and shelter locations. The app also allows impacted residents to send a Safe and Well alert to family and friends. The Emergency App is available in app stores by searching for the American Red Cross or going to redcross.org/apps. #monsoon2021 #redcross #evacuationplan

  About the American Red Cross:

  The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40% of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.