Flood prevention and flood safety can save you time and money from the most common catastrophe in the U.S.
Floods damage more homes than any other natural disaster in the U.S. They cause more than $2 billion in property damage every year.
A flood can happen to anyone, so it’s important to find out if you have adequate protection for your home.
Standard homeowners insurance doesn't cover damage caused by a flood, and the government offers federal disaster assistance only when the president declares a major disaster. Ask your insurance agent if you can purchase flood insurance in your area.
For your home
You can follow these flood prevention tips to help reduce damage during a flood:
Prevent sewer lines from backing up by installing backflow valves or
Raise your washer and dryer and other equipment such as the water
heater, oil tanks, furnace and electrical wiring on concrete blocks. If
you're unable to raise a particular item, consider anchoring it and
protecting it with a floodwall or shield.
Install and maintain a sump pump system if you have below-grade
- Landscape with native plants and vegetation that resist soil erosion.
During a flood
When the water begins to rise, being calm will help to save your property and your family. Remember that the most important thing is to keep your family safe; however, if you have time to protect your belongings, take these flood protection steps:
Turn off utilities at the main power switch.
Move outside items, such as a grill, inside.
Move valuables such as important papers, jewelry and clothing to upper
floors − or, if you only have one floor, put items on the top of
shelves, tables or countertops.
- Sanitize your bathtub and sinks and fill them with fresh, clean water in case the water supply becomes contaminated.
As the floodwaters continue to rise, remember that the water is much stronger than you think:
- Don't drive through a flood. If you're unfortunate enough to be in your car when a flood occurs, abandon it and move to higher ground. Six inches of water can cause loss of control and possible stalling.
- Don't walk through flood areas. Just 6 inches of water can sweep you away.
- Stay away from downed power lines.
- Evacuate your house or move to upper floors if waters rise inside your home, and take your emergency kit with you.
After officials have given the sign that you can return home, follow these tips:
Before entering a building, check for structural damage.
Don't use matches or a lighter when entering buildings.
Listen for reports to see when drinking water is safe again.
Keep power off until an electrician has inspected your system.
Report your claim to your insurance agent or company as soon as
- Cleanup should begin as soon as waters recede. Separate damaged from undamaged items, begin making a list of damaged property, and clean and disinfect everything that got wet.
This flood safety information is meant to help you make decisions that may reduce your risk. Of course, we can't note every possible risk, and we can’t guarantee that these tips will work for you. However, we hope that if you use some of them, you'll better protect your family and yourself.