Coping With a Flood: Before, During and After
Nobody can stop a flood. But if you are
faced with one, there are actions you can take to protect your
family and keep your property losses to a minimum. The most important thing is to make sure your
family is safe.
Before a Flood
Keep a battery-powered radio tuned to a local
station, and follow emergency instructions.
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. Take dry clothing, a
flashlight and a portable radio with you. Then, wait for
help. Donít try to swim to safety; wait for rescuers to
come to you.
If Time Permits, Here are Other Steps That You
Can Take Before The Flood Waters Come
Turn off all utilities at the main power switch
and close the main gas valve if evacuation appears
Move valuables, such as papers, furs, jewelry,
and clothing to upper floors or higher elevations.
Fill bathtubs, sinks and plastic soda bottles
with clean water. Sanitize the sinks and tubs first by
using bleach. Rinse, then fill with clean water.
Bring outdoor possessions, such as lawn
furniture, grills and trash cans inside, or tie them down
Once The Flood Arrives
Do not drive through a flooded area. If you come
upon a flooded road, turn around and go another way. More
people drown in their cars than anywhere else.
Do not walk through flooded areas. As
little as six inches of moving water can knock you off your
Stay away from downed power lines and electrical
wires. Electrocution is another major source of deaths in
floods. Electric current passes easily through
Look out for animals - especially snakes.
Animals lose their homes in floods, too. They may seek
shelter in yours.
After The Flood
If your home, apartment or business has suffered
damage, call the insurance company or agent who handles your
flood insurance policy right away to file a claim.
Before entering a building, check for structural
damage. Donít go in if there is any chance of the
Upon entering the building, do not use matches,
cigarette lighters or any other open flames, since gas may be
trapped inside. Instead, use a flashlight to light your
Keep power off until an electrician has
inspected your system for safety.
Flood waters pick up sewage and chemicals from
roads, farms and factories. If your home has been flooded,
protect your familyís health by cleaning up your house right
away. Throw out foods and medicines that may have come
into contact with flood water.
Until local authorities proclaim your water
supply to be safe, boil water for drinking and food preparation
vigorously for five minutes before using.
Be careful walking around. After a flood,
steps and floors are often slippery with mud and covered with
debris, including nails and broken glass.
Take steps to reduce your risk of future
floods. Make sure to follow local building codes and
ordinances when rebuilding, and use flood-resistant materials
and techniques to protect yourself and your property from future
One of the most important things that you can do
to protect your home and family before a flood is to purchase a
flood insurance policy.
You can obtain one through your insurance
company or agent. Flood insurance is guaranteed through
the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), administered by the
Federal Emergency Management Agency. Your homeowners
insurance does not cover flood damage.
Donít wait until a flood is coming to purchase
your policy. It normally takes 30 days after purchase for a
flood insurance policy to go into effect.
For more information about the NFIP and flood
insurance, contact your insurance company or agent, or call the
NFIP at 1-888-FLOOD29 or TDD# 1-800-427-5593.
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