What Do You Do? Safety Tips to Keep in Mind During a Flood

Flooding can happen very quickly, and we want to make sure you know what to do if you get stuck in the middle of it.

Here are some tips to help keep your home and your family safe during a flood.

Before a flood

Construct barriers (levees, beams, floodwalls) to stop floodwater from entering your home.

Seal walls in basements with waterproofing compounds to avoid seepage.

If a flood is likely in your area, listen to the radio or television for information.

Know the difference between a flood watch and a flood warning. A watch means flooding is possible. A warning means flooding is already occurring or will occur soon.

Pack a bag with important items in case you need to evacuate. Don't forget to include needed medications.

If advised to evacuate your home, do so immediately.

If there is any possibility of a flash flood, move immediately to higher ground.

If possible, bring in outdoor furniture and move essential items to an upper floor.

Turn off utilities at the main switches or valves if instructed to do so. Disconnect electrical appliances.

During a flood

If water rises in your home before you evacuate, go to the top floor, attic or roof.

Listen to local TV news or a battery-operated radio for the latest storm information.

Turn off all utilities at the main power switch and close the main gas valve if advised to do so.

If you've come in contact with floodwaters, wash your hands with soap and disinfected water.

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

Do not attempt to walk across flowing streams or drive through flooded roadways.

Do not drive through flooded areas. If you see a flooded-out road ahead, turn around. Find another route to your destination.

If there is no other route, get to higher ground and wait for the waters to subside.

Even if the water appears shallow enough to cross, don't try it. Water hides dips in the road. Flooding can scour away the entire road surface and a significant amount of ground beneath.

If your car stalls, abandon it immediately and climb to higher ground.

After a Flood

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.

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.

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.

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.

Learn everything you need to know about floods and how you stay safe during one on FEMA's website.

Source: Federal Emergency Management Agency