Flood Safety

Before a Flood

Besides insuring your property, the resident should consider the below steps. These steps will help to minimize loss to your home and to ensure your family’s safety:

  • Ask an out-of-state relative or friend to be the family contact in case you are injured during a flood. Make sure that  everyone in your family knows the name, address, and phone number of a main contact person.
  • Buy and install sump pumps with backup power.
  • For drains, toilets, and other sewer connections, install back-flow valves or plugs to prevent floodwaters from entering.
  • Have a licensed electrician raise electric components (switches, sockets, circuit breakers, wiring) at least 12 feet above your home’s projected flood elevation.
  • Plan and practice a flood evacuation route with your family.
  • Post emergency telephone numbers by the phone.
  • Take photos or videos of all of your important possessions. If your home is damaged by flood, these photos or videos will help in filing a full flood insurance claim.
  • Teach children how to dial 911.

During a Flood

  • Avoid walking through floodwaters. As little as 6 inches of moving water can knock you off your feet.
  • Don’t drive through a flooded area. If you come upon a flooded road, turn around and take another way. A car can be carried away by just 2 feet of floodwater. Electric current passes easily through water, so stay away from downed power lines or electrical wires.
  • Fill bathtubs, sinks, and jugs with clean water in case water becomes contaminated.
  • Floodwaters may carry raw sewage, chemical waste, and other disease-spreading substances. If you’ve come in contact with floodwaters, wash your hands with soap and disinfected water.
  • If local authorities instruct you to do so, turn off all utilities at the main power switch and the main gas valve.
  • If told to evacuate your home, do so immediately.
  • Listen to a battery-operated radio for the latest storm information.
  • Look out for animals. Animals lose their homes in floods, too.

After a Flood

  • Check for sewage and water line damage. If you suspect damage, avoid using the tap and call a plumber.
  • Check for structural damage before reentering your home. Don’t go in if there is a portion of the building that is collapsed.
  • If your home has suffered damage, call the agent who handles your insurance to file a claim.
  • Keep power off until an electrician has inspected your system for safety.
  • Throw away any food, including canned goods, that has come in contact with floodwater.
  • To make filing your claim easier, take photos of any water in the house and save damaged personal property. If necessary, place these items outside the home. The insurance agent will need to see what has been damaged in order to process your claim.
  • Until local authorities declare your water supply to be safe, boil water for drinking and food preparation.
  • Upon reentering your property, do not use matches and cigarette lighters since gas may be trapped inside. If you smell gas or hear hissing, open a window quickly, and call the gas company from a neighbor’s home.


Drowning is the number one cause of flood deaths, mostly during flash floods. Currents can be deceptive; 6 inches of moving water can knock you off your feet. If you walk in standing water, use a pole or a stick to ensure that the ground is still there.

Updated April 26, 2023