Life threatening emergencies


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Free sand and bags (both fill your own and pre-filled) are available for Mesa residents Sand bags are constantly being replenished throughout the day. 

For more information about sandbag availability in Mesa call 480-644-2160

Learn more about how to fill sand bags

If filling your own bags, please bring a shovel.

Fill the bags one-half to two-thirds full. The bag should lie fairly flat when filled. Overfilled bags are too firm and do not nestle into one another; tight bags make for a leaky sandbag wall. Tying bags is not necessary. 

Storm Preparation

Identify the Danger

Some of the potential emergencies in Arizona that residents need to be aware of and plan for are:

  • Monsoon storms
  • Floods
  • Wildfires
  • Power outages
  • Extreme heat conditions

Thunder Storms and Lightning

  • If you can hear thunder, then you are close enough to be struck by lightning.
  • Go to a sturdy building or a hard-topped vehicle. You should remain in this shelter 30 minutes after the last thunder is heard.
  • Telephone lines conduct electricity, so avoid using the phone during a storm.
  • Metal pipes also conduct electricity, so avoid taking showers and baths or using running watering during a storm.
  • Bring pets indoors because lightning is very scary for them and they are likely to panic and run away.

High Winds

  • Arizona thunderstorm winds often exceed 40 mph and straight-line winds can exceed 100 mph.
  • Move in to a central interior room away from windows to avoid blowing debris that could shatter windows.
  • If you are driving in high winds reduce speed and anticipate steering correction when moving from protected to unprotected wind areas or when encountering large passing vehicles.
  • Be aware of high profile vehicles; trucks, semis, buses, campers, or those towing a trailer because they can be unpredictable during high wind conditions.
  • There is also a need to evaluate large trees close to your home as a hazard due to the ground being highly saturated and high winds.

Dust Storms

  • If you are caught in a dust storm while driving, pull off the roadway as far as safely possible.  Turn off your headlights and taillights, put your vehicle in park, and take your foot off the brake.
  • With reduced visibility, other drivers behind you could see the brake lights and assume you are driving on the road and follow your lights.
  •  When severe dust storms occur you should consider cleaning your smoke detectors.  Dust can clog detectors and cause false alarms.


  • Nearly half of all flood fatalities are vehicle related (National Weather Service). Never drive into a flooded roadway.
  • It is extremely difficult to estimate the depth of running water or the strength of a current.
  • Never drive around barricades. They are there for a reason, usually because flooding is anticipated or has already happened. In addition, the road could be damaged and unsafe for drivers.
  • It only takes 1 to 2 feet of water to float most vehicles, including SUVs.
  • Never allow children to play near washes or storm drains after any rainfall. Children can be swept away.

Downed Power Lines

  • Across a roadway:
    • Consider any downed power line energized and dangerous. Never touch a downed power line or anything close to a downed power line. High voltage can travel through the ground. Stay at least 100 feet away from any downed lines.
  • Across a vehicle:
    • If the vehicle is occupied, stay in the vehicle until professional help arrives. Avoid contact with metal surfaces both inside and outside the vehicle. If there is a fire in the vehicle, jump from the vehicle landing on both feet. Hop away, keeping both feet in contact with each other until you are at least 100 feet from the vehicle.

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