Flooding is a temporary overflow of water onto land that is normally dry and is the most common natural disaster in the United States. Failing to evacuate flooded areas or entering flood waters can lead to injury or death. Take steps to prepare before, during, and after a flooding event.

Prepare Before a Flood

  • Know the flood risk for your area. The FEMA Flood Map Service Center (MSC) is the official public source for flood hazard information produced in support of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Use the MSC to find your official flood map, access a range of other flood hazard products, and take advantage of tools for better understanding flood risk.
  • If flash flooding is a risk for your location, watch for potential signs such as heavy rain.
  • Learn and practice evacuation routes, shelter plans, and flash flood response.
  • Purchase or renew a flood insurance policy.
  • Store important documents in a waterproof container.
  • Take steps to protect your property including moving valuables to higher levels, declutter drains and gutters, install check valves, and consider using a battery-powered sump pump.

During a Flood

  • Evacuate immediately, if told to evacuate. 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 regarding flooding.
  • Do not walk, swim, or drive through flood waters.  Turn Around, Don’t Drown!
  • Stay off bridges over fast-moving water.
  • If trapped in a building, go to the highest level.  Do not climb into a closed attic, you may become trapper by rising floodwater.  Go to the roof only if necessary.  Once there, signal for help.

Stay Safe After a Flood

  • Pay attention to authorities for information and instructions. Return home only when authorities say it is safe.
  • Avoid driving except in emergencies.
  • Wear heavy work gloves, protective clothing and boots during clean up and use appropriate face coverings or masks if cleaning mold or other debris. 
  • People with asthma and other lung conditions and/or immune suppression should not enter buildings with indoor water leaks or mold growth that can be seen or smelled. Children should not take part in disaster cleanup work.
  • Be aware that snakes and other animals may be in your house.
  • Be aware of the risk of electrocution. Do not touch electrical equipment if it is wet or if you are standing in water. Turn off the electricity to prevent electric shock if it is safe to do so.
  • Avoid wading in floodwater, which can be contaminated and contain dangerous debris. 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.

Additional Resources