Learn how to keep your family safe during a flood, and how to clean up a flooded home.
Know the Difference!
A flood/flash flood WATCH means a flood or flash flood is possible.
A flood/flash flood WARNING means flooding or flash flooding is already occurring or will occur soon. TAKE IMMEDIATE PRECAUTIONS!
VIDEO: 3 Easy Steps to Prepare
Prepare in Advance
How to Prepare Before a Flood
- Talk with your family about what to do if a flood watch or warning is issued. Discussing floods ahead of time helps reduce fear, especially for younger children.
- Ensure that every member of your family carries a Safe and Well wallet card.
- Make sure you have access to NOAA radio broadcasts:
- Find out if you are located in a floodplain, which is considered a Special Flood Hazard Area. If so, you are still eligible for flood insurance. Check with your city or county government (start with the Building or Planning Department) to review the Flood Insurance Rate Maps, published by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
- Find out if local streams or rivers flood easily.
- Keep insurance policies, documents, and other valuables in a safe-deposit box. You may need quick, easy access to these documents. Keep them in a safe place less likely to be damaged during a flood. Take pictures on a phone and keep copies of important documents and files on a flashdrive that you can carry with you on your house or car keys.
- If you live in a floodplain, elevate and reinforce your home to make damage less likely during a flood.
- Check with a professional to:
- Raise your furnace, water heater, and electric panel to floors that are less likely to be flooded. An undamaged water heater may be your best source of fresh water after a flood.
- Install check valves in plumbing to prevent floodwater from backing up into the drains of your home. (As a last resort, when floods threaten, use large corks or stoppers to plug showers, tubs, or basins.)
- Construct barriers such as levees, berms, and flood walls to stop floodwater from entering the building (if permitted by local building codes).
- Seal walls in basements with waterproofing compounds to avoid seepage through cracks.
- Use sand bags when flooding is expected:
- It takes two people about one hour to fill and place 100 sandbags, creating a wall one foot high and 20 feet long.
- Make sure you have enough sand, burlap or plastic bags, shovels, strong helpers, and time to place them properly.
- If a flood is expected, some communities will offer free sandbags to residents. Be sure to watch or listen to the news so you can access these resources.
FACT vs. FICTION
Fill your sinks and bathtubs for drinking water in case flooding water interrupts or contaminates the public water supply.
Water stored in bathtubs and sinks should never be used for drinking or for bathing young children because lead can leak from the glaze in bathtubs and sinks into water stored in them. However, you can use water stored in bathtubs and sinks for flushing the toilet or washing the floor or clothing.
Right Before a Flood
Staying Safe Indoors
Staying Safe Outdoors
FACT vs. FICTION
If you have a truck or SUV, it’s okay to drive across rushing flood water.
Just two feet of rushing water can carry away most vehicles, including SUVs and pickup trucks. Never try to drive across rushing flood water.
After a Flood:
FACT vs. FICTION
You will never be able to buy flood insurance if your property has been flooded in the past.
You are still eligible to purchase flood insurance after your property has flooded, provided your community participates in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Check with your local emergency management office for more information.
Download the Flood Safety Checklist
Monster Guard App
For kids aged 7-11. This app teaches preparedness for real-life emergencies at home with the help of Maya, Chad, Olivia and all the monsters.