Protect Yourself + Your Family  

Protect Yourself + Your Family

Before a flood

Educate Yourself: After getting flood insurance, there are several things you can do to minimize losses in your home and ensure your family's safety.

Protect yourself & other people: The person most responsible for your safety and well-being is YOU!

Build an emergency kit and make a family communications plan. Find out how at http://www.ready.gov/floods

Make considerations for and customize plans for individual needs and responsibilities based on the methods of communication, types of shelter and methods of transportation available.

  • Access & Functional Needs: 2014_PrinterFriendly_DisabilitesSpecialNeeds.pdf (English) & 2014_PrinterFriendly_DisabilitiesSpecialNeeds_ES.pdf (Spanish)
  • Infants & Young Children:  Link to “For Parents with babies and/or small children”
  • Seniors: 2014_PrinterFriendly_OlderAmericans.pdf (English) & 2014_PrinterFriendly_OlderAmericans_ES.pdf (Spanish)
  • Animals: PrinterFriendly_Pets.pdf (English) &  PrinterFriendly_PetOwners_ES.pdf (Spanish) and link to “protect your pets”

Develop a family emergency plan. 

  • Create a safety kit with drinking water, canned food, first aid, blankets, a radio, and a flashlight.
  • Post emergency telephone numbers by the phone and teach your children how to dial 911.
  • Plan and practice a flood evacuation route with your family. Know safe routes from home, work, and school that are on higher ground.
  • Ask an out-of-state relative or friend to be your emergency family contact.

For more information on emergency preparation, talk to your insurance agent or visit http://www.floodsmart.gov/floodsmart/pages/preparation_recovery/before_a_flood.jsp

During a flood

If a flood is likely in your area, you should:

  • 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 stream, drainage channels, canyons and other areas known to flood suddenly. Flash floods can occur in these areas with or without typical warnings such as rain clouds or heavy rain.

If you have to prepare to evacuate, you should do the following:

  • Secure your home. If you have time, bring in outdoor furniture. Move essential items to an upper floor.
  • Turn off utilities at the main switches or valves if instructed to do so. Disconnect electrical appliances. Do not touch electrical equipment if you are wet or standing in water.
  • If water rises in your home before you evacuate, go to the top floor, attic, or roof.

If you have to leave your home, remember these evacuation tips:

  • Do not attempt to walk across flowing streams or drive through flooded roadways:
    • Six inches of moving water can make you fall. If you have to walk in water, walk where the water is not moving. Use a stick to check the firmness of the ground in front of you.
    • Do not drive into flooded areas. If floodwaters rise around your car, abandon the car and move to higher ground if you can do so safely. You and the vehicle can be swept away quickly (from http://www.ready.gov/floods).
      • Six inches of water will reach the bottom of most passenger cars causing loss of control and possible stalling.
      • A foot of water will float many vehicles
      • Two feet of rushing water can carry away most vehicles including sport utility vehicles (SUV’s) and pick-ups.
      • Do not attempt to drive through a flooded road. The depth of water is not always obvious. The road bed may be washed out under the water, and you could be stranded or trapped.
      • Do not drive around a barricade. Barricades are there for your protection. Turn around and go the other way.
      • Do not try to take short cuts. They may be blocked. Stick to designated evacuation routes.
      • Be especially cautious driving at night when it is harder to recognize flood dangers.
      • Do not camp or park your vehicle along streams, rivers or creeks, particularly during threatening conditions.
      • If you've come in contact with floodwaters, wash your hands with soap and disinfected water.

For more information, visit http://www.floodsmart.gov/floodsmart/pages/preparation_recovery/during_a_flood.jsp:

After a flood

Your home has been flooded. Although floodwaters may be down in some areas, many dangers still exist. Here are some things to remember in the days ahead:

  • Use local alerts and warning systems to get information and expert informed advice as soon as available.
  • Avoid moving water.
  • Stay away from damaged areas unless your assistance has been specifically requested by police, fire, or relief organization.
  • Emergency workers will be assisting people in flooded areas. You can help them by staying off the roads and out of the way.
  • Play it safe. Additional flooding or flash floods can occur. Listen for local warnings and information. If your car stalls in rapidly rising waters, get out immediately and climb to higher ground.
  • Return home only when authorities indicate it is safe.
  • Roads may still be closed because they have been damaged or are covered by water. Barricades have been placed for your protection. If you come upon a barricade or a flooded road, go another way.
  • If you must walk or drive in areas that have been flooded.
  • Stay on firm ground. Moving water only 6 inches deep can sweep you off your feet. Standing water may be electrically charged from underground or downed power lines.
  • Flooding may have caused familiar places to change. Floodwaters often erode roads and walkways. Flood debris may hide animals and broken bottles, and it's also slippery. Avoid walking or driving through it.
  • Be aware of areas where floodwaters have receded. Roads may have weakened and could collapse under the weight of a car.
  • Stay out of any building if it is surrounded by floodwaters.
  • Use extreme caution when entering buildings; there may be hidden damage, particularly in foundations.
  • Check for structural damage before re-entering your home to avoid being trapped in a building collapse.

Staying Healthy: A flood can cause physical hazards and emotional stress. You need to look after yourself and your family as you focus on cleanup and repair.

  • Avoid floodwaters; water may be contaminated by oil, gasoline or raw sewage.
  • Service damaged septic tanks, cesspools, pits and leaching systems as soon as possible. Damaged sewer systems are serious health hazards.
  • Listen for news reports to learn whether the community’s water supply is safe to drink
  • Clean and disinfect everything that got wet. Mud left from floodwaters can contain sewage and chemicals.
  • Wear gloves and boots to clean and disinfect. Wet items should be cleaned with a pine-oil cleanser and bleach, completely dried, and monitored for several days for any fungal growth and odors.
  • Boil water for drinking and food preparation until authorities tell you that your water supply is safe.
  • Rest often and eat well.
  • Keep a manageable schedule. Make a list and do jobs one at a time.
  • Discuss your concerns with others and seek help. Contact Red Cross for information on emotional support available in your area.

For more information, visit http://www.floodsmart.gov/floodsmart/pages/preparation_recovery/after_a_flood.jsp