Disaster Do's and Don'ts

Things you can do now to prepare for a flood event

  • Educate yourself of the flood risks in your area; 
  • Find a fast and safe route to high ground from your home, place of work and school. Be aware of which transportation routes may be closed in case of flooding;
  • Put together an emergency flood kit which should includes: a first aid kit with essential medicines, drinking water, a flashlight, batteries, non-perishable food, a portable radio, a can opener, blankets and warm clothing;
  • Be sure to have temporary care lined up for your pets in case of flooding;
  • Buy flood insurance; most homeowners' policies do not cover flood damage;
  • Store your valuables and toxic materials in higher areas of your house; and
  • Create a list of the contents in your house complete with photographs. This will be useful for flood insurance claims and tax deductions following a flood event.

If time permits

  • If there is sufficient time, protect your home with sandbags, plastic sheeting, and plywood. Remember sandbags should not be stacked against the building;
  • Turn off all utilities; and
  • Stock bathtubs and sinks with fresh water.

Things to do during a flood event

  • Pay attention to the local weather forecast and flood warnings;
  • Avoid flooded areas; Do Not Attempt To Walk, Swim Or Drive Through a Flooded Area;
  • If trapped in your home, move to the upper stories of the house and the roof if necessary. Wait For Help To Come To You;
  • Stay away from electrical equipment in wet areas; and
  • If your car is stuck in a flooded area, abandon your car as fast as possible to seek higher ground.

Things to do following a flood

  • Do not use food, water and medicine contaminated by the flood waters;
  • Do not use tap water until the community officials advise that it is safe;
  • Be aware of hazards caused by structural damage to buildings;
  • Turn off all utilities if you have not already done so. Do not use open flames when searching your home after a flood because of possible gas leaks;
  • Electrical outlets and wiring need to be checked by a professional before usage. The No. 2 flood killer after drowning is electrocution;
  • Dispose of contaminated carpeting and drywall;
  • Be careful about drying wooden items in the sun because warping may occur;
  • Do not pump out flood water from basements all at once. Pump out about one-third of the water per day;
  • Document all flood loss for flood insurance, government assistance, and tax deduction purposes; and
  • Pay attention to local news for information on any financial assistance available from FEMA. If access to the internet is available, use FEMA’s website for up-to-date information on disaster assistance ( www.fema.gov ).
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