Tips for Preparing for a Flood
Floods can happen at any time and in any climate. Whether you live or work in a coastal city at risk of storm surges, a Southwestern state prone to thunderstorms, or a mountainous region with substantial snowmelt in the spring, it’s vital to prepare today for the possibility of a flood tomorrow. Here are the top tips to keep in mind.
Keep Your Loved Ones Safe
- Become familiar with your community’s emergency plans, warning signals, evacuation routes, and emergency shelter locations. If you have a pet, find an animal shelter able to take your dog or cat in an emergency.
- Create a family disaster plan. Practice driving the flood evacuation route together.
- Build a 72-hour kit for each family member.
- Purchase a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather radio.
- Store essential documents (such as medical records, birth and marriage certificates, insurance cards, and copies of your ID) in a waterproof bag. Create password-protected digital backups as well.
- Get a tetanus booster shot every 10 years.
Prepare Your Home for a Flood
- Keep gutters and downspouts free of leaves, pine needles, and other debris.
- Improve the soil grading around your home so rainwater flows away from the foundation.
- Consider installing a sump pump with a backup power supply.
- Place HVAC equipment, appliances, and electronics on risers to raise them off the floor.
- Anchor fuel tanks located in the basement.
- Install backflow valves or plugs in your sewer system, drains, and toilets to prevent floodwaters from entering your home this way.
- Review your insurance coverage.
Prepare to Evacuate
If a flood watch or warning is issued, and evacuation appears imminent, follow these steps to prepare your family to leave:
- Gather your 72-hour kits and tune in to the local news, county/city website, or NOAA radio broadcast.
- Fill clean containers with water.
- Bring untethered outdoor belongings, including patio furniture, grills, and garbage cans, inside or strap these down securely.
- Fill up your car with gas. If you don’t have a car, make arrangements with friends or family.
- Listen for disaster sirens or warning signals.
- Take your pet or livestock to an animal shelter.
Evacuate vs. Shelter in Place
If you are directed to evacuate:
- Never ignore the order.
- Only take essential items with you.
- Turn off the water, electricity, and gas supply if you have time.
- Disconnect appliances to prevent electric shock once power is restored.
- Follow designated evacuation routes. Don’t drive through floodwaters or attempt to circumvent barricades.
If you are not directed to evacuate:
- Continue monitoring the news, websites, and radio.
- Remain prepared to leave if emergency personnel instruct you to do so.