How to Prepare for a Flood
Being prepared and knowing what to do during a flood helps protect your family and limit damage to property.
Prepare Your Home
- Know if your area is prone to flooding.
- Store essential items in water-proof containers.
- Clear out storm gutters.
- Extend downspouts away from your home's foundation.
- Proper foundation preparations.
- Install a sump pump with battery backup (this keeps groundwater from entering your home).
- Install backflow preventers (keeps water flowing in one direction away from your home).
- Raise utilities like water heaters and furnaces.
- Obtain flood insurance and sewer maintenance insurance.
- Take pre-flood pictures for possible claim purposes and store them in a safe place.
- Engage in family emergency planning (All-hazards plan).
- Have a plan ready to go.
- Run through the plan with family so they are prepared in the event of an emergency.
- Plan your home remodeling wisely, such as using waterproof materials in the basement.
- Have access to reliably obtain weather information and receive flooding alerts if they are issued.
- NOAA weather radio
- Social media, weather apps or other internet resources
- Know the "3-P's": Pets, Pills, and Purses.
- Include essentials
- 3-7 days of non-perishable food items
- Water for you and your pets
- Battery powered radio
- Extra batteries
- Charging devices
- Extra clothing
- Basic medical supplies
During a flood watch or warning, the following checklists will guide you through things to keep in mind before, during and after a flood happens.
Before the Flood
- Clear out essential belongings in basements or levels known to flood by bringing objects to higher floors or elevation.
- Remove debris and other objects from storm drains and gutters.
- If possible, bring outdoor belongings inside.
- Turn off utilities in flood-prone areas if safe to do so.
- Stay informed about evacuation and sheltering plans.
- Know where, when, and how to obtain free sandbags if needed.
- Avoid parking along streams, rivers, and creeks during heavy rainfall.
- Monitor lake levels.
During the Flood
- Turn Around, Don't Drown - avoid walking or driving through flood waters.
- Act quickly - save yourself, not your belongings.
- Listen to public officials for current emergency information and instructions.
- If told to do so, evacuate immediately.
- If directed to a specific location, go there.
- Secure your home by locking all windows and doors before evacuating.
- Shut off water, gas, and electrical services.
- If possible, families should use one vehicle to avoid getting separated and reduce traffic jams.
- If trapped in a building, go to its highest level.
- Do not climb into a closed attic - you could become trapped in rising flood water.
After the Flood
- Seek necessary medical care.
- Monitor updates via public officials, NOAA Weather Radio, or local TV/radio stations.
- Let friends and family know you're safe.
- If evacuated, wait to return home until the area has been declared safe.
- Do not return to a disaster area - this is unsafe and may hamper urgent emergency response and rescue operations.
- Follow recommended routes while watching out for washed out roads, downed trees, or power lines.
- Do NOT enter a building if it is still flooded or surrounded by floodwater.
- Check home for structural damage.
- Keep children and pets away form hazardous sites and floodwater.
- Take pictures of any damages for insurance purposes.
- Seek information relating to the closest Multi-Agency Resource Center (MARC) for immediate resources and services such as food, clothing, and first aid.
After officials have declared your home's area safe, follow these guidelines when returning home:
- Wear protective clothing including rubber gloves and boots when cleaning up.
- The most common injury following a disaster is cut feet.
- Watch out for wildlife that might have entered the floodwaters.
- Keep windows and doors open for ventilation.
- Do NOT turn on electrical appliances until they have been checked by an electrician.
- Do NOT use open flame as a source of light - use a flashlight.
- If the public water system has been declared unsafe by health officials, boil all water vigorously for 10 minutes before use.
- Throw away any medicine or food that has come in contact with water.
- Throw out items that absorb water and cannot be cleaned or disinfected.
- Pump out flooded basements or other flooded areas gradually (about 1/3 of the water per day) to avoid structural damage.
- Service damaged sewage systems as soon as possible.
- Follow city instructions for debris removal and disposal.