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Be Informed

Flooded kitchen in a house

Floods

Tips for Preparing for a Flood

  • Contact your local county geologist or county planning department to find out if your home is located in a flash-flood-prone area or landslide-prone area.
  • Learn about your community’s emergency plans, warning signals, evacuation routes and locations of emergency shelters.
  • Plan and practice a flood evacuation route with your family. Ask an out-of-state relative or friend to be the “family contact” in case your family is separated during a flood. Make sure everyone in your family has their contact information.
  • Post emergency phone numbers at every phone.
  • Inform local authorities about any special needs, i.e., elderly or bedridden people or anyone with a disability.
  • Identify potential home hazards and know how to secure or protect them before the flood strikes. Be prepared to turn off electrical power when there is standing water, fallen power lines or before you evacuate. Turn off gas and water supplies before you evacuate. Secure structurally unstable building materials.
  • Buy a fire extinguisher and make sure your family knows where it is and how to use it.
  • Buy and install sump pumps with back-up power.
  • Have a licensed electrician raise electric components (switches, sockets, circuit breakers and wiring) at least 12 inches above your home’s projected flood elevation.
  • For drains, toilets and other sewer connections, install backflow valves or plugs to prevent floodwaters from entering.
  • Anchor fuel tanks which can contaminate your basement if torn free. An unanchored tank outside can be swept downstream and damage other houses.

 

During a Flood Watch or Warning

  • Gather your emergency supply kit and stay tuned to local radio or TV stations for updates.
  • Turn off all utilities at the main power switch and close the main gas valve if evacuation appears necessary.
  • Have your immunization records handy or be aware of your last tetanus shot, in case you receive a puncture wound or a wound becomes contaminated during the flood.
  • Fill bathtubs, sink and plastic soda bottles with clean water. Sanitize the sinks and tubs first by using bleach. Rinse and fill with clean water.
  • Bring outdoor possessions, such as lawn furniture, grills and trash cans inside or tie them down securely.
  • Fill your vehicle’s gas tank and make sure the emergency kit for your car is ready.
  • If no vehicle is available, make arrangements with friends or family for transportation.
  • Listen for disaster sirens and warning signals.
  • Put livestock and family pets in a safe area. Due to food and sanitation requirements, emergency shelters cannot accept animals.
  • Adjust the thermostat on refrigerators and freezers to the coolest possible temperature.

 

If You Are Ordered to Evacuate

You should never ignore an evacuation order. Authorities will direct you to leave if you are in a low-lying area, or within the greatest potential path of the rising waters. If a flood warning is issued for your area or you are directed by authorities to evacuate the area:

  • Take only essential items with you.
  • If you have time, turn off the gas, electricity and water.
  • Disconnect appliances to prevent electrical shock when power is restored.
  • Follow the designated evacuation routes and expect heavy traffic.
  • Do not attempt to drive or walk across creeks or flooded roads.

 

If You Are Ordered NOT to Evacuate

  • Monitor the radio or television for weather updates.
  • Prepare to evacuate to a shelter or to a neighbor’s home if your home is damaged, or if you are instructed to do so by emergency personnel.

 

For more information visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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