Springtime often means flooding for many areas across the US. In fact, floods are the most common natural disaster in our country according to Ready.gov. That’s why it’s so important to be prepared and know what steps to take in the event of flooding in your community. Read on for helpful flood preparedness and safety tips.
Floods can result from rain, snow storms, or overflows of dams and other water systems.
They can develop slowly or very quickly: Flash floods can come with little to no warning. All floods can cause power outages, disrupt transportation, damage structures, and even create landslides.
If you are under a flood warning, find safe shelter immediately!
Do NOT walk, swim or drive through flood waters. Just six inches of water can knock you down, and one foot of moving water can sweep away vehicles. Stay off of bridges that are over fast-moving water.
Evacuate if you are told to do so.
Move to higher ground or to a higher floor if you cannot evacuate.
- Know types of flood risk in your area by visiting FEMA’s Flood Map Service Center. If flash flooding is a risk in your area, monitor potential signs, like heavy rain.
- Sign up for your community’s warning system, as well as nationwide alert systems including the Emergency Alert System (EAS) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio.
- Learn and practice evacuation routes, shelter plans, and flash flood response.
- Gather supplies in case you have to leave immediately or if services are cut off. Keep in mind each person and pet’s specific needs. Obtain extra batteries and charging devices for phones and other critical equipment.
- Look into purchasing flood insurance, as homeowners’ policies do not cover flooding.
- Keep important documents in a waterproof container. Make sure you have digital copies with password protection.
- Protect your property by moving valuables to higher levels. De-clutter drains and gutters, and consider a sub pump with a battery.
- Depending on where you are, the impact and warning time of flooding, head to the safe location that you previously identified.
- If authorities tell you to evacuate then do so immediately. NEVER drive around barricades.
- Listen to local and national emergency alerting systems for current information and instructions.
- Do not walk, swim, or drive through flood waters.
- Stay off bridges, as flood waters can wash them away without warning.
- If your vehicle is trapped in rapidly moving water, stay inside. If the water is rising inside the vehicle, seek refuge on the roof.
- In the case that you are trapped inside of a building, go to its highest level. Do not climb into a closed attic, as you may become trapped by rising floodwater. Go on the roof only if necessary and then signal for help.
Be Safe AFTER:
- Listen to authorities for information and instruction. Return home only when they say it is safe.
- Avoid driving except in emergencies.
- Snakes and other animals may be in your house. Wear heavy gloves and boots during cleanup.
- Be aware of the risk of electrocution. Do not touch electrical equipment if it is wet or if you are standing in water. Turn off the electricity to avoid the risk of shock if it is safe to do so.
- Avoid wading in floodwater, as it can contain dangerous debris and could be contaminated. Underground or downed power-lines can also electrically charge the water.
- Use a generator or other gas-powered machinery only outdoors and away from windows.
- Flood Safety Social Media Toolkit (toolkit)
- Flood Information Sheet (PDF)
- National Weather Service Weather Ready Nation Spring Safety Outreach Materials (link)
- American Red Cross (link)
- The National Insurance Program (link)
- Six Things to Know Before a Disaster (video)
- When the Cloud Forms (video)
- How to Prepare for a Flood (PDF)
- Flood Playbook (PDF)
- Flood Creative Materials (PDF)
- National Creative Resources (PDF)
- Answers to Questions about Flood Insurance
- National Flood Insurance Program Summary of Coverage
- Your Homeowners Insurance Does Not Cover Flood
Information from Ready.gov