Flood Safety Tips

Flood Safety Tips

According to the Centers for Disease Control, more deaths occur each year due to flooding than any other hazard related to thunderstorms. The most common flood deaths occur when a vehicle is driven into hazardous flood water.

Here are tips on protecting yourself during a flood:


  • Gather emergency supplies. 
  • Listen to your local radio or television station for  updates.
  • Have immunization records handy (or know the year of  your last tetanus shot). 
  • Keep important documents in a waterproof container. Create password-protected digital copies.
  • Prepare an emergency food and water supply. Store at  least 1 gallon of water per day for each person and each pet. Store at  least a 3-day supply. You should also have batteries, blankets,  flashlights, first aid kit, rubber boots, rubber gloves, and a NOAA  Weather Radio or other battery operated radio easily available.
  • Bring in outdoor possessions (lawn furniture, grills,  trash cans) or tie them down securely.
  • If evacuation appears necessary, turn off all utilities  at the main power switch and close the main gas valve.
  • Leave areas subject to flooding, including low spots, canyons,  washes, etc. Know your area’s flooding history.
  • Make sure  your cell phone and portable radios are all charged in case you lose power  or need to evacuate. Also make sure you have back-up batteries on hand.

After Flooding Occurs

  • Avoid driving through flooded  areas and standing water. As little as six inches of water can cause you  to lose control of your vehicle. Remember adage: Turn around, don’t drown.
  • Never drive around barricades. Local responders use them to safely direct traffic out of flooded areas.
  • Stay off of bridges over fast-moving water.
  • Move to higher ground or a higher floor if flooding is imminent. 
  • Do not drink flood water, or use it to wash dishes,  brush teeth, or wash/prepare food. Drink clean, safe water.
  • If you evacuated, return to your home only after local  authorities have said it is safe to do so.
  • Listen to water advisory from local authorities to find  out if your water is safe for drinking and bathing. 
  • During a water advisory, use only bottled, boiled, or  treated water for drinking, cooking, etc.
  • When in doubt, throw it out. Throw away any food and  bottled water that comes/may have come into contact with flood water.
  • Prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. Use generators at  least 20 feet from any doors, windows, or vents. If you use a pressure washer,  be sure to keep the engine outdoors and 20 feet from windows, doors, or  vents as well.
  • Be aware of the risk of electrocution. Do not touch electrical equipment  if it is wet or if you are standing in water. If it is safe to do so,  turn off the electricity to prevent electric shock.
  • Avoid wading in floodwater, which can contain dangerous debris and be  contaminated. Underground or downed power lines can also electrically  charge the water.

The initial damage caused by a flood is not the only risk. Standing flood waters can also spread infectious diseases, bring chemical hazards, and cause injuries.

If you find that your home was flooded, it’s important to practice safe cleaning. Remove and throw out drywall and insulation that was contaminated with flood water or sewage. Throw out items that cannot be washed and cleaned with a bleach solution: mattresses, pillows, carpeting, carpet padding, and stuffed toys.

Walls, hard-surfaced floors, and many other household surfaces should be cleaned with soap and water and disinfected with a solution of one cup of bleach to five gallons of water.

Graphic and Article Source: "Flooding concerns for parts of Alabama: 10 inches of rain possible; flood safety tips" AL.com (February 18, 2019) Leada Gore