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
Easy, Less Expensive Fixes
- Regularly clear out storm gutters of leaves and debris.
- Extend downspouts away from your home's foundation.
- Regrade any landscaping adjacent to your home so that the grading slants away from your home and moves runoff away from your basement
- Install window wells or replace windows with brick style (waterproof) glass.
- Patch or repair leaks and cracks in your foundation.
Longer Term, More Expensive Fixes
- Install a sump pump with battery backup or look into other ways to improve basement drainage and keep groundwater from entering your home.
- Install backflow preventers on your sanitary sewer system (keeps sewage from backing up into your basement floor drain).Raise utilities like water heaters and furnaces.
- Obtain flood insurance and sewer maintenance insurance and keep the documents safely outside your home (safe deposit box or in the cloud).
- Take pre-flood pictures for possible claim purposes and store them in a safe place.
- Plan your home remodeling wisely, such as using waterproof materials in the basement.
General Extreme Weather Preparedness
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
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.
- Learn where your electric water and gas main shut offs are in your home.
- 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.
- If caught in floodwaters, act quickly - save yourself, not your belongings.
- Listen to public officials for current emergency information and instructions.
- If told to do so, evacuate immediately.
- Secure your home by locking all windows and doors before evacuating.
- Shut off water, gas, and electrical services.
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.
- 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.