Disaster Preparedness and Recovery

Safety Precautions During a Flood

When driving during a flood event

  • Because most flood-related deaths occur when people are driving, avoid all nonessential travel.
  • If you must drive, avoid areas that are subject to flooding.
  • Never attempt to drive over a flooded road. The depth of water is not always obvious and the roadbed may be washed out.
  • If your car stalls, abandon it immediately and climb to higher ground.
  • Be especially cautious at night when it is harder to recognize flood dangers.

When outside during a flood event

  • Avoid walking through flooded areas – particularly during a flash flood. As little as 6 inches of moving water can knock you off your feet. Also, the water may be contaminated with oil, gasoline, or raw sewage.
  • Never let children play outside during a flood event.
  • Closely watch out for downed power lines and electrical wires. Electrocution is another major cause of deaths in floods because electrical current passes easily through water. Report downed lines to the utility company immediately.
  • Watch out for snakes and other animals.
  • Be especially cautious at night when it is harder to recognize flood dangers.

When inside your home during a flood event

  • If the waters start to rise inside your house before you have evacuated, retreat to the second floor, the attic, and, if necessary, the roof.
  • Don’t use matches, cigarette lighters, or any other open flames since gas may be trapped inside. Instead, use a flashlight to light your way.
  • Look for fire hazards.
  • Keep power off until an electrician has inspected your system for safety.
  • Be careful walking around. After a flood, steps and floors are often slippery with mud and covered with debris, including nails and broken glass.