Flooding Safety

Flash Floods

  • Avoid walking, swimming, or driving in flood waters.
  • Stay away from high water, storm drains, ditches, ravines, or culverts. If it is moving swiftly, even water six inches deep can knock you off your feet.
  • If you come upon flood waters, stop, turn around, and go another way. Climb to higher ground.
  • Do not let children play near storm drains.


  • Flash Floods develop quickly
  • They can occur anywhere, along rivers or creeks, in low water crossings or in a dry stream bed
  • They can occur during any month and at any time during the day. In fact, flash floods often occur at night when it is difficult to find an escape route.
  • Flash floods can be deceptive. Flood waters are likely deeper and moving faster than you think.

When Driving

  • Avoid low water crossings
  • Use alternate routes to avoid flood prone areas
  • Leave your vehicle immediately if it stalls in flood waters
  • Move to higher ground if you can do so safely
  • Most cars and light trucks will begin to float in as little as 12to 2 feet of water
  • Act quickly
  • Rising waters make vehicle doors difficult if not impossible to open.


  • Know your flood risk and elevation above flood stage
  • Keep your automobile fueled. Gas stations may not be able to operate gas pumps for several days after the flood event
  • Store drinking water in clean bathtubs or in other containers. Water service may be interrupted for days
  • Maintain a reserve of food that requires little if any cooking and no refrigeration
  • Keep first aid supplies on hand
  • Maintain a battery-powered NOAA Weather Radio or other radio
  • Have emergency cooking equipment and flashlights
  • Install check valves in sewer traps to prevent flood waters from backing into drains in your home

River Flood

During a river flood, follow these safety tips:

  • If you come upon a flowing stream where the water is above your ankles, stop, turn around and go the other way
  • Do not attempt to drive over flooded roadways
  • Never allow children to play near high water, storm drains or viaducts
  • Follow all evacuation orders

After the Flood

After the flood has ended, many dangers still remain. Remember these safety rules after river floods end:

  • Throw out fresh food that comes in contact with flood waters
  • Boil all water before drinking it
  • Test well water for purity before drinking
  • Do not visit disaster areas, you may hinder emergency operations
  • Dry and check electrical equipment before using it
  • Use flashlights, not lanterns, torches or matches to examine buildings. Flammables may be inside
  • Report downed utility lines to appropriate authorities