Know what to expect
- Know your area’s flood risk—if unsure, call your local Red Cross chapter, emergency management office, or planning and zoning department.
- If it has been raining hard for several hours, or steadily raining for several days, be alert to the possibility of a flood.
- Listen to local radio or TV stations for flood information.
Reduce potential flood damage by—
- Raising your furnace, water heater, and electric panel if they are in areas of your home that may be flooded.
- Consult with a professional for further information if this and other damage reduction measures can be taken.
Floods can take several hours to days to develop—
- A flood WATCH means a flood is possible in your area.
- A flood WARNING means flooding is already occurring or will occur soon in your area.
Flash floods can take only a few minutes to a few hours to develop—
- A flash flood WATCH means flash flooding is possible in your area.
- A flash flood WARNING means a flash flood is occurring or will occur very soon.
Prepare a Family Disaster Plan
Check to see if you have insurance that covers flooding. If not, find out how to get flood insurance.
Keep insurance policies, documents, and other valuables in a safe deposit box.
Assemble a Disaster Supplies Kit containing—
- First aid kit and essential medications.
- Canned food and can opener.
- At least three gallons of water per person.
- Protective clothing, rainwear, and bedding or sleeping bags.
- Battery-powered radio, flashlight, and extra batteries.
- Special items for infant, elderly, or disabled family members.
- Written instructions for how to turn off electricity, gas, and water if authorities advise you to do so. (Remember, you’ll need a professional to turn natural gas service back on.)
Identify where you could go if told to evacuate. Choose several places . . . a friend’s home in another town, a motel, or a shelter.
When a flood WATCH is issued—
- Move your furniture and valuables to higher floors of your home.
- Fill your car’s gas tank, in case an evacuation notice is issued.
When a flood WARNING is issued—
- Listen to local radio and TV stations for information and advice. If told to evacuate, do so as soon as possible.
When a flash flood WATCH is issued—
- Be alert to signs of flash flooding and be ready to evacuate on a moment’s notice.
When a flash flood WARNING is issued—
- Or if you think it has already started, evacuate immediately. You may have only seconds to escape. Act quickly!
- Move to higher ground away from rivers, streams, creeks, and storm drains. Do not drive around barricades . . . they are there for your safety.
- If your car stalls in rapidly rising waters, abandon it immediately and climb to higher ground.