What to do During a Flood

  • Check the items in your Emergency Kit and review your family emergency plan
  • Listen for instructions from public safety officers and the National Weather Service. 
    • Flood or Flash Flood Watch: issued by the National Weather Service and means flooding or flash flooding is possible in your area.
    • Flood or Flash Flood Warning: issued by the National Weather service and means a flood or flash flood will occur very soon or is already occurring.

Protect your home and secure valuables.

  • Fill bathtubs, sinks and jugs with clean water in case tap water supplies become contaminated. Tip: Sanitize the sinks and bathtubs by using bleach. Rinse, then fill with clean water.
  • Move valuables, such as papers, furs, jewelry and clothing to upper floors or higher elevations.
  • Bring outdoor items inside or tie down securely, for example lawn furniture, grills and trashcans.
  • If waters start to rise inside your house before you have evacuated, retreat to the second floor, the attic, and if necessary, the roof.
  • If public officials instruct you to do so, shut off water and electricity. 
  • Leave natural gas service ON unless local officials advise you otherwise.

Prepare to evacuate, in case public safety officials direct you to do so.

  • Fill your car's gas tank, or listen for evacuation instructions for those who depend on public transit.
  • If told to evacuate by public safety officials, do so immediately. See the Evacuation instructions below.

Avoid coming in contact with floodwaters.

  • Wash your hands with soap and disinfected water if you touch floodwaters. Floodwaters may carry raw sewage, chemical waste and other disease-spreading substances. 
  • Stay away from downed power lines and electrical wires.Electric current passes easily through water. 
  • Do not try to swim to safety!
  • Do not drive, walk or swim through floodwaters. Remember: Turn Around, Don't Drown!
  • Look out for animals, especially snakes that may be seeking higher ground to avoid floodwaters. 

If Directed To Evacuate:

  • Do not evacuate unless or until directed to do so by public safety officials.
  • When directed to evacuate, follow the instructions you are given by public safety officials. Heed their advice immediately. 
  • Leave as soon as possible. 
  • Bring your Emergency Kit.
  • Dress for the prevailing weather conditions, at minimum a long sleeve shirt, pants, and sturdy shoes. 
  • Take your pets with you. Remember that pets (other than assistance animals for people with disabilities) are not permitted in emergency shelters. You must follow your plan to go to a friend's home or a pet-friendly hotel.
  • Lock your home. 
  • Use travel routes specified by local authorities - don't use shortcuts because certain areas may be impassable or dangerous. 
  • Avoid flooded roads and washed-out bridges. Stay away from downed power lines. 
  • If you are sure you'll have time:
    • Call your family contact to tell them where you are going and when you expect to arrive. 
    • Shut off water and electricity before leaving, if instructed to do so. Leave natural gas service ON unless local officials advise you otherwise. 
  • Listen to local authorities. They will provide you with the most accurate information specific to an event in your area. Stay tuned to local radio and television. A battery-powered radio is a vital part of your Emergency Kit.