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.
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.