Safety Tips: Before, During and After a Flood
It’s important to prepare ahead for possible storms or flooding. These tips and resources will assist you in your planning, but the real work is up to you. Take the time to prepare ahead, you’ll be glad you did.
Before a Flood
- Find out what your flood risk is.
- Avoid building in a floodprone area unless you elevate and reinforce your home.
- Retrofit your property. Elevate the A/C, water heater and electric panel if susceptible to flooding.
- Install “check valves” in sewer traps to prevent floodwater from backing up into the drains of your home.
- Purchase flood insurance for your home, business or rental.
- Know your evacuation zone.
- Make an emergency plan to protect you, your family and your pets. Pet-friendly shelters are limited.
- Register to receive emergency alerts.
- Protect your home by building smart and taking actions to minimize flood damage.
- For more information on what to do before, during and after a natural disaster, visit Emergency Management.
Did you know?
Flooding can still occur even outside of designated flood zones.
During a Flood
- Don’t panic.
- Know your evacuation zone, know your evacuation routes and plan where you will go.
- Prepare a small bag with essentials.
- Tune in to local media for flood watches and warnings.
- Heed warnings from officials and evacuate when orders are given.
- Have battery-operated flashlights, radios and televisions in working condition.
- Shut off water service, gas service and electricity to your home.
- Do not walk through moving water. 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 quickly swept away.
- Six inches of water will reach the bottom of most passenger cars causing loss of control and possible stalling.
- One 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-up trucks.
Did you know?
Flooding can be caused by heavy rains as well as by tropical storms and hurricanes.
After a Flood
- Use caution when returning home. Review the returning home checklist.
- Stay tuned to local news for updates on flooded areas, road closures and re-entry points.
- Follow re-entry orders. Learn more.
- Avoid flooded areas and standing water.
- Water may be contaminated or electrically charged. If you see downed power lines, report them to the power company.
- Floodwaters can contain raw sewage, bacteria, viruses and other germs that can cause disease.
- Be aware of areas where floodwaters have receded. Roads may have weakened and could collapse under the weight of a car.
- Take extra care in the prevention of mosquitoes breeding in standing water and remember the 3 Ds:
- Drain water when possible.
- Dress in light colors and cover all parts of the body.
- Defend with DEET, Picaridin or Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus.
- Watch for critters such as snakes, raccoons, possums and insects that may have “moved” into your evacuated home, since they too look for shelter and relief from floodwaters .
- Listen to news reports to learn whether the water supply is safe to drink.
- Deal with damage in your home:
- Document the damage. Photograph and list all damaged or lost items, including their age and value where possible. Take photos of water in the house. Adjusters need evidence of the damage to prepare your estimate.
- File your flood insurance claim now. View the National Flood Insurance Program’s Claims Handbook.
- Do not sign an Assignment of Benefits contract as a condition of having your home repaired. VIDEO: Florida Property Insurance Fraud, Don’t Sign Your Rights Away.
- Remove wet contents immediately to prevent mold. Wet carpeting, furniture, bedding and other items holding moisture can develop mold within 24-48 hours.
- Clean and disinfect everything that got wet. Mud left from floodwater can contain sewage and chemicals. View more information about flood cleanup and indoor air quality from the Environmental Protection Agency.
- Repair your flooded home.
- View post-disaster consumer protection tips.
- Look out for price gouging. It is illegal for anyone to sell necessary goods or services at higher than normal prices during a state of emergency.
- Never let anyone into your home without first asking for identification. Representatives of utilities, government offices and reputable businesses will have proper identification.