Floods are one of the most common natural hazards and can occur anywhere. Flash floods can occur within minutes of excessive rainfall and often carry debris within the water. Overland flooding is the most common type of flooding and occurs when a moving body of water overflows its banks, but can also have other causes. If a flood may occur, be sure to have your emergency kit nearby.

  • Listen to the radio or television for information. A flood watch means that there is a possibility of a flood, a flood warning means that a flood is likely to occur soon, and a flash flood warning means that a flash flood is occurring and to seek higher ground immediately.
  • Turn off the utilities in your home or building, including water and electricity. Disconnect electrical appliances and do not touch electrical equipment if you are wet or standing in water.
  • If possible, stay away from flood waters. Even a few inches of moving water can knock someone off their feet. If floodwaters are unavoidable, stick to area where the water is still and use a stick or other object to check the ground in front of you for hazards.
  • Stay away from downed power lines, transformers, or other electrical equipment to reduce the risk of electrocution.
  • Do not drink flood water. It may have been contaminated by petroleum products, sewage or other chemicals.
  • Do not drive on flooded roads. Stop and find an alternate route; the condition, current of water on and depth of a flooded road is unknown and may present a hazard. It only takes two feet of water to move most vehicles, including larger vehicles like trucks and SUVs.
  • If your vehicle stalls and water is rising, exit the vehicle and move to higher ground. Avoid standing on the roof of your vehicle as the flood water can move or even rise above the vehicle.
  • Consider constructing barriers to stop floodwater from entering your home or building. If you have a basement, try to seal the walls with waterproofing compounds.

After the flood has passed, continue to avoid moving water. Return home only when authorities indicate it is safe. Keep in mind that roads and other structures that were under flood waters may have been weakened and could collapse under stress. Listen for news reports to tell you whether or not your water supply is safe to drink.