Preparing For Floods and Flash Floods

Some simple advance preparation will help you be ready for possible floods in your area.

  1. Know the flood warning system in your community and be sure your family knows the warning. Instruct family members in emergency procedures during a flood warning. If you live in an area subject to frequent or sudden floods, especially flash floods, you may wish to have family flood drills. Assign each family member an emergency task such as gathering emergency supplies, turning off utilities, or listening to the radio for instructions.

  2. Flood proof your buildings. Install check valves in sewer traps to prevent water from backing up in sewer drains. Seal cracks in walls and floors with hydraulic cement. Place heavy screens over lower windows to prevent breakage from floating objects.

  3. Be ready to protect appliances from minor flooding. Put a half-block of cement under each corner of refrigerators, freezers, washing machines and dryers. Use bricks or boards if you don't have cement blocks.

  4. Identify fire hazards. During a flood, fire danger is increased. In addition, fire departments may be unable to get to fires through high water. Watch for these fire hazards on your property:
    • Broken or leaking gas lines,
    • flooded electrical circuits,
    • submerged furnaces or electrical appliances
    • flammable or explosive materials coming from upstream.

  5. Before floodwaters crest, turn off the main power switch if you think the electrical circuits are going to be underwater. Never Touch The Switch While You Are Wet Or Standing In Water. Do not turn the electrical system back on until it has been inspected by an electrician.

  6. Know what a river height forecast means for your property especially how far your property is above or below expected flood levels.

  7. Know where to go in case of flooding. Remember that you must seek higher ground as quickly as possible, on foot if necessary.

  8. If you are camping, know how far your campsite is above nearby waterways. Know how to seek higher ground. Stay out of unknown water paths such as dry creeks or river beds. If advised to leave the area, do so immediately.