Before a Flood
Designate a household meeting spot and develop an emergency plan and kit with supplies for your home and car. If you are at work or school, follow the established safety protocols.
- Seal cracks in your home’s foundation, exterior home walls, and small openings around pipes.
Prepare your home. Stop floodwater from entering your home with materials like plywood, plastic sheeting, and sandbags.
For ways to protect your home from flooding: FEMA's Homeowner’s Guide to Retrofitting: Six Ways to Prevent Your Home from Flooding
- Keep rain gutters and drainage channels free of debris. Tarp or seed unvegetated slopes on your property.
Do not pollute, dump, or drain anything in creeks. Know your neighborhood streams and drainage channel locations.
- Build responsibly: check with your community’s floodplain manager before you build.
- Learn how to turn off utilities at the main switches or valves. Disconnect electrical appliances. Do not touch electrical equipment if you are wet or standing in water.
- Keep your car’s gas tank full or fully charged.
- Sign up for early flood warning text alerts at AlertSCC.
- Red Cross Flood Safety Checklist: This checklist may be a useful guide before, during, and after a flood event.
During a Flood
Be aware that flash flooding can occur. If a flood is imminent, avoid low-lying areas and seek shelter in the highest spot possible.
- If advised to evacuate, do so immediately. If you are at work or school, follow the established safety protocols. Evacuation is safer and easier before floodwaters become too deep. For more information, see www.ready.gov/evacuation.
- Moving water is dangerous. Six inches of moving water can cause a person to stumble or fall. If you have to walk in water, walk where it is not moving. Use a stick to check the firmness of the ground in front of you and aid in balance.
- Understand shallow flooding risks – don’t drive through standing water. Turn Around, Don’t Drown® — If floodwaters rise around your car, abandon the car and move to higher ground. A foot of water will cause many vehicles to float. Two feet of rushing water can carry away most vehicles, including SUVs and pick-ups.
After a Flood
Listen for news reports on whether the community's water supply is safe to drink.
- Never walk, swim, drive, or play in floodwater. Oil, gasoline or raw sewage may have contaminated the water. Underground or downed power lines may also have electrically charged the water.
- Please stay away from downed power lines and report them to your power company. Do not attempt to turn on a gas meter if the service is disconnected. Contact your utility and or your local police department.
Return home only when authorities indicate it is safe.
- Service damaged septic tanks, cesspools, pits and leaching systems as soon as possible. Damaged sewage systems are serious health hazards.
- Clean and disinfect everything wet. Mud left from floodwater can contain sewage and chemicals.
- Any repairs or improvements greater than 50 percent of a structure’s value need to meet National Flood Insurance Program requirements.