How to Prepare and Safely Weather a Flood

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The following information is provided by Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and American Red Cross:

Floods are one of the most common hazards in the United States. Flooding can develop slowly during an extended period of rain or in a warming trend following a heavy snow. Flash flooding can occur quickly, sometimes in just a few minutes and without any visible signs of rain.

Be prepared for flooding no matter where you live, but particularly if you are in a low-lying area, near water or downstream from a dam. Even very small streams, gullies, creeks, or low-lying ground that appears harmless in dry weather can flood.

Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act:

On March 21, 2014, President Obama signed the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014 into law.  While FEMA actively works to implement the new law, they encourage policyholders to maintain and keep current flood insurance policies.  FEMA does not recommend cancelling a flood insurance policy. For more information go to: http://www.fema.gov/media-library/resources-documents/collections/414, https://www.fema.gov/national-flood-insurance-program/flood-insurance-reform, https://www.fema.gov/media-library/assets/documents/95946, and https://www.fema.gov/media-library/assets/documents/99601

Prepare an Emergency Supply Kit which includes:

These terms help identify a flood hazard:

Flood Watch: Flooding is possible. Tune in to NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio, or television for information

Flash Flood Watch: Flash flooding is possible. Be prepared to move to higher ground; listen to NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio or television for information

Flood Warning: Flooding is occurring or will occur soon; if advised to evacuate, do so immediately

Flash Flood Warning: A flash flood is occurring; seek higher ground on foot immediately

Before a Flood:

During a Flood:

If you have to leave your home:
Stay away from floodwaters. If you come upon a flowing stream where water is above your ankles, stop, turn around and go another way. Six inches of swiftly moving water can sweep you off of your feet. If you have to walk in water, walk where the water is not moving. Use a stick to check the firmness of the ground in front of you.

If you are driving:
If you come upon a flooded road while driving, turn around and go another way. If you are caught on a flooded road and waters are rising rapidly around you, get out of the car quickly and move to higher ground if you can do so safely. Most cars can be swept away by less then two feet of moving water.

After a Flood:

For information about floods, risk of financial loss due to flooding and flood insurance go to: www.FloodSmart.gov

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SOURCES: Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and American Red Cross
PREPARED BY: 211/mm
CONTENT LAST REVIEWED: January2017