How to Protect People and Property

                                               Picture of storm rolling in a neighborhood, "You can't control the weather, but you can prepare for it"

There are several things that home and business owners can do in order to prepare for a flood, manage the situation during a flood, and take action after a flood occurs: 

Before a Flood  

  • Buy flood insurance to cover the house and contents. Renters can get contents insurance for just a few dollars a month. For more information on flood insurance, visit: WEBPAGE LINK[MW1]  
  • Inventory items that can be damaged by water, including pictures
  • Keep valuable items out of basements or elevate them several feet off the floor
  • Other changes to the property to reduce the risk of damage from flooding may require hiring professionals and obtaining building and floodplain permits, including:
    1. Add a sump pump or add a battery backup to any existing sump pumps
    2. Raise the house above the Base Flood Elevation (BFE) to reduce the risk of being flooded. 
    3. Move furnaces, water heaters, and electrical panels above the BFE to reduce the risk of having expensive repairs.
    4. Add flood vents to crawlspaces and garages.  
    5. Seal basement walls with waterproofing to reduce seepage.  
  • For more information on preparing the house for a flood, visit: Street sign stating "When Flooded Turn Around Don't Drown"

During a Flood

  • Follow evacuation instructions from emergency services. For flood notifications and warnings, visit WEBPAGE LINK[MW2].
  • Do not walk through moving water. Six inches of fast-moving water is all it takes to sweep most people off their feet.  
  • Do not drive through floodwaters. Six inches can cause loss of control or stall most cars, 12 inches will float most vehicles, and two feet of moving water will sweep away almost any vehicle.
  • Be careful about crossing a stream during a flood; what is happening beneath the surface may not be readily apparent. To watch a video of a culvert failure during a storm, visit WEBPAGE LINK[MW3]. Things get interesting after about 1 ½ minutes.

After a Flood  

  • Avoid wading into floodwaters, as they are often contaminated by sewage and other hazardous materials. Also, do not use tap water unless the local water district has announced it is safe.  
  • Wait to return home until the authorities have announced that it is safe to do so.  
  • If damage has occurred, rebuild smarter by obtaining building and floodplain permits to ensure that any repair or reconstruction meets the code requirements to reduce the potential for future damage. For more information on floodplain regulations, visit: WEBPAGE LINK[MW4] 

If the home is substantially damaged, over 50% of its value, there are federal programs to build back smarter to help reduce the potential for future damage; visit Increased cost compliance coverage