Floods are among the most frequent and costly natural disasters. Conditions that cause floods include heavy or steady rain for several hours or days that saturate the ground. Flash floods occur suddenly due to rapidly rising water along a stream or low-lying area.
What should you do?
Listen to area radio and television stations. Be prepared to evacuate at a moment’s notice. When a flood or flash flood warning is issued for your area, head for higher ground and stay there.
If you come upon a flowing stream where water is above your ankles, turn around and go another way. If you come upon a flooded road while driving, turn around and go another way. If you are caught on a flooded road and waters are rising rapidly around you, get out of the car quickly and move to higher ground.
Keep children out of the water. Be especially cautious at night when it is harder to recognize flood danger.
What supplies do you need?
Water, at least a 3-day supply, one gallon per person, per day. Food, at least a 3-day supply of non-perishable, easy-to-prepare food. Flashlight. Battery-powered or hand-crank radio (NOAA Weather Radio, if possible). Extra batteries. First aid kit. Medications (7-day supply) and medical. A multi-purpose tool. Sanitation and personal hygiene items. Copies of personal documents (medication list and pertinent medical information, deed/lease to home, birth certificates, insurance policies). Cell phone with chargers. Family and emergency contact information
Extra cash. Emergency blanket. Map(s) of the area. Baby supplies. Pet supplies. Tools/supplies for securing your home. Extra set of car keys and house keys. Extra clothing, hat and sturdy shoes. Rain gear. Insect repellent and sunscreen. Camera for photos of damage.
What do you do after a flood?
Return home only when officials have declared the area safe.
Before entering your home, look outside for loose power lines, damaged gas lines, foundation cracks or other damage.
Approach entrances carefully. See if porch roofs and overhangs have all their supports.
Watch out for wild animals, especially poisonous snakes that may have come into your home with the floodwater.
If you smell natural or propane gas or hear a hissing noise, leave immediately and call the fire department.
If power lines are down outside your home, do not step in puddles or standing water.
Keep children and pets away from hazardous sites and floodwater.
Materials such as cleaning products, paint, batteries, contaminated fuel and damaged fuel containers are hazardous. Check with local authorities for assistance with disposal to avoid risk.
Make sure your food and water are safe. Discard items that have come in contact with floodwater.
Do not use water that could be contaminated to wash dishes, brush teeth, prepare food, wash hands, make ice or make baby formula.
Contact your local or state public health department for specific recommendations for boiling or treating water in your area after a disaster.