Flood Safety and Preparedness

Protect Yourself Before a Flood


  • Know your flood risk. Learn whether you live, work, or travel through areas
    that are prone to flooding. g. To help communities understand their risk of flooding,
    the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) creates flood maps which show areas of high, moderate, low and undetermined risk. To check your flood risk, enter your address into the map.
  • Know how to stay informed. Being informed of timely information about weather conditions or other emergency events can be significant in staying safe. Make sure to: monitor the weather reports provided by your local news media, pay attention to emergency alerts in your area, think about how you will stay informed during a power outage, use the USGS’s WaterAlert system to receive texts or email messages when a stream in your area is rising to flood level.
  • Know your evacuation routes. The safest way to survive a flood is to evacuate the area if advised to leave. In order to leave quickly and efficiently, you need to plan ahead. Keep your car fueled and in good condition in case you to use it for transportation for emergencies. Identify a place away from home where you could go if you have to leave.


  • Practice how you will communicate with family members in emergencies. In case you’re not together during a flash flood warning, practice your methods of communication. Often sending a text or using social media can be faster than making a phone call. Keep important numbers written down somewhere easily available to you, not just in your phone. Since it’s often easier to contact someone outside of your local area during emergencies, choose an out of town contact for your family. Decide where to meet after the flood. Develop a Household Communication Plan. 
  • Practice first aid skills and emergency response actions through training classes. In most circumstances, a person at the scene provides the first assistance to someone, before professional help can arrive. Learn and practice response skills now so you can help yourself, your family, and community members. Take a class at Red Cross or learn about the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Program.


  • Store supplies somewhere readily available to you so you can grab them quickly if you need to evacuate and know
    in advance what else you will need to take. Make a list of the things you would want to take with you if you had to leave your home quickly. Store the basic emergency supplies in a “Go Bag” or other container. Be ready to grab other essential items quickly before leaving your home. Build an emergency kit in advance of flooding.


  • Protect your property to manage your risk. Plan ahead to protect your property from flood damage. Talk to your insurance agent about buying flood insurance. Since homeowner insurance policies don’t usually cover flood insurance, you’ll need to buy it separately. Act now because any policy purchased today will take effect 30 days from now. Also you can take other steps to protect your property such as  waterproofing your basement, installing sump pumps with battery backup, and keeping gutters and drains free of debris.


  • Discuss what you have done to prepare with your family, friends, neighbors,and colleagues. Talking with others will help you think thorugh your plans, share information about alerts, and share tips for protecting your property.
  • Discuss how your community can reduce risk. Work with others in your community to improve community resilience planning in case of a flood. Support your community’s participation in the National Flood Insurance Program’s Community Rating System (CRS).

For more information: