Disaster Preparedness – Floods




Before a flood:

  • Visit the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s flood map database. Avoid building in a floodplain unless you elevate and reinforce your home.
  • If your house is susceptible to flooding, elevate the furnace, water heater, and electric panel. Install “check valves” in sewer traps to prevent floodwater from backing up into drains of your home.
  • Seal walls in basements with waterproofing compounds to avoid seepage.
  • Know the difference between a Flood Watch, a Flash Flood Watch, and a Flash Flood
    Warning. A Flood Watch means that flooding is possible, while a Flash Flood Watch
    means flooding is occurring or will occur soon; if advised to evacuate, do so immediately. A Flash Flood Warning means that a flash flood is occurring and you should seek higher ground on foot immediately.

If you have time:

  • Secure your home and bring in outdoor furniture. Move essential items to an upper floor.
  • Turn off utilities at the main switch or valves if instructed to do so. Disconnect electrical appliances. Do not touch electrical equipment if you are wet or standing in water.
  • Construct barriers (levees, beams, floodwalls) to stop floodwater from entering the building.

During a flood:

  • Listen to the radio or television for information. Be aware that flash flooding can occur. If there is any possibility of a flash flood, move immediately to higher ground. Do not wait for instructions to move.
  • Be aware of streams, drainage channels, canyons, and other areas known to flood suddenly. Flash floods can occur in these areas with or without such typical warnings as rain clouds or heavy rain.
  • Do not walk through rushing or moving water. If you’re driving, do not pass through
    standing water, or water where you cannot see the bottom

After a flood:

  • Listen for news reports.
  • Avoid floodwater and be careful for debris in the water. Dangers could include glass,
    downed power lines, ruptured gas lines, damaged buildings, or other hazardous materials. Floodwater itself can contain gas, oil, sewage, etc., so take caution.
  • Be wary of areas where floodwaters have receded. Roads may be weakened.
  • Return home only when authorities indicate it is safe.