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

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.

Know Your Zone

Know when to evacuate.


Evacuation Zone Look-Up

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:
  • Repair your flooded home.
    • Build back safer and stronger.
    • Hire a licensed contractor.
    • Get required permits before you start any home repair, improvement, or construction.
    • Service damaged septic tanks, cesspools, pits, and leaching systems as soon as possible. Damaged sewage systems are serious health hazards.
  • 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.