Failing to evacuate flooded areas, entering flood waters, or staying after a flood has passed can result in injury or death. Flooding is a temporary overflow of water onto land that is normally dry. Floods are the most common natural disaster in the U.S. 

Floods may: 

Result from rain, snow, coastal storms, storm surges, and overflows of dams and other water systems 

Develop slowly or quickly – flash floods can come with no warning 

Cause outages, disrupt transportation, damage buildings and create landslides 

If you are under a flood warning, find shelter right away: 

Do not walk, swim or drive through floodwaters. Turn Around, Don’t Drown! 

Just six inches of moving water can knock you down, and one foot of moving water can sweep a vehicle away 

Stay off of bridges over fast-moving water 

Determine how best to protect yourself, based on the type of flooding 

Evacuate if told to 

Move to higher ground or a higher floor 

Stay where you are  

How to stay safe when a flood threatens 

Know types of flood risk in your area. Visit FEMA’s Flood Map Service Center for information. 

Sign up for your community’s warning system. The Emergency Alert System and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Weather Radio also provide emergency alerts. 

If flash flooding is a risk, monitor potential signs. 

Learn and practice evacuation routes, shelter plans and flash-flood response 

Gather supplies in case you have to leave immediately, or if services are cut off. Keep in mind each person’s specific needs, including medication. Don’t forget pets’ needs. 

Get extra batteries and charging devices for phones and other critical equipment. 

Buy or renew a flood insurance policy. It typically takes up to 30 days for a policy to go into effect and can protect the life you’ve built. Homeowner’s policies do not cover flooding. Get flood coverage under the National Flood Insurance Program 

Keep important documents in a waterproof container. Create password-protected, digital copies. 

Protect your property. Move valuables to higher levels. Declutter drains and gutters. Install check valves. Consider a sump pump with a battery. 

Survive during a flood 

Depending on where you are, and the impact and the warning time of flooding, go to the safe location that you previously identified 

If told to evacuate, do so immediately. Never drive around barricades. Local responders use them to safely direct traffic out of flooded areas 

Listen to EAS, NOAA Weather Radio, or local alerting systems for current emergency information and instructions 

Do not walk, swim, or drive through floodwaters. Turn Around. Don’t Drown! 

Stay off bridges over fast-moving water, which can wash bridges away without warning 

If your vehicle is trapped in rapidly moving water, stay inside. If water is rising inside the vehicle, seek refuge on the roof. 

If trapped in a building, go to its highest level. Do not climb into a closed attic. You may become trapped by rising floodwater! Go on the roof only if necessary. Once there, signal for help. 

Be safe after a flood 

Listen to authorities for information and instructions. Return home only when authorities say it is safe 

Avoid driving, except in emer-gencies 

Snakes and other animals may be in your house. Wear heavy gloves and boots during clean up 

Be aware of the risk of electrocution. Do not touch electrical equipment if it is wet or if you are standing in water. If it is safe to do so, turn off the electricity to prevent electric shock 

Avoid wading in floodwater, which can contain dangerous debris and be contaminated. Underground or downed power lines can also electrically charge the water 

Use a generator or other gasoline-powered machinery ONLY outdoors and away from windows.