After a Flood
If you evacuated
- Return home only when authorities say it is safe.
- Be aware of areas where floodwaters have receded and watch out for debris.
- Do not attempt to drive through areas that are still flooded.
If you stayed in the area or when you return
- Listen to public information to get expert advice as soon as it becomes available.
- After the rising water has stopped, use the following precautions:
- If your home was severely flooded, only enter your house when officials tell its safe to do so.
- Be extremely cautious when entering flooding buildings because there might be hidden damage.
- Don’t touch wet electrical equipment if you are standing in water.
- Shut off utilities to a flooding home or building.
- Fumes from charcoal and carbon monoxide are deadly. Use a generator or any gasoline-powered machine only outdoors and away from windows to prevent fumes entering the building.
- Stay away from moving water, especially near drainage systems and coastal areas.
- Watch for dangerous debris(broken glass), dead animals, or venomous snakes that may be in floodwaters. Use a stick to check for dangers before walking through debris.
- Do not drive in areas where the road is covered in floodwater.
- Stay way from downed power lines and report them to 911.
- Stay away from damaged ares unless your assistance is requested by police, fire, or relief organization.
- Use text messaging or social media to communicate with family or friends because cellular phone systems are usually overwhelmed following a disaster. Only make emergency phone calls.
- Use local alerts, radio stations, and other information sources, such the American Red Cross apps, to get information and advice as soon as possible.
Health and Sanitation
- Listen to the news to learn whether your community’s water supply is safe to drink.
- Throw out any food, including canned items, that were either not stored at the proper temperature or exposed to floodwater. Do not eat food from a flooded garden.
- Have wells checked for contamination from bacteria and chemicals.
- Clean and disinfect everything that got wet. Mud from floodwater can contain sewage, bacteria, and chemicals. Be cautious and wear appropriate protective equipment such as gloves.
- Remove and replace any drywall or paneling that has been underwater. Use a moisture meter to make sure that wooden studs and any framing are dry before replacing drywall. Mold can grow in hidden places and is a significant health hazard.
Care for Loved Ones and Yourself
- Pay attention to any signs of depression or anxiety related to this experience, such as feeling mentally or emotionally drained, having difficulty making decisions or staying focused, becoming easily frustrated on a more frequent basis, feeling lonely , numb, or worried, or experiencing changes in appetite or sleep patterns.
- Photograph any damage to your property and contact your insurance agent.
- Do what you can to prevent any further damage that insurance may not cover, such as putting a tarp on a damaged roof.
For more information:
Learn about community mitigation plans
Sign up for FEMA’s flood mitigation planning email updates
Watch these videos about mitigation efforts