When a flood watch is issued, move your furniture and valuables to higher floors in your home.
Fill your car with gas in case you have to evacuate.
Get your disaster supplies kit ready to take with you. You may be given very short notice to evacuate.
Bring outdoor furniture inside.
When a flood warning is issued, listen to your local radio and TV stations for information.
If told by authorities, turn off all utilities at the main switch and close the main gas valve.
If told to evacuate, do so immediately, especially if the warning is for flash flooding. It will be easier to leave before the flood waters become too deep.
If you live in a flood-prone area, stockpile emergency building materials, shovels and sandbags.
Protect your home by having check valves installed in sewer traps to prevent flood waters from backing up in sewer drains.
Have large corks or stoppers on hand to help plug showers, tubs and basins.
Fill tubs, sinks and jugs with fresh water in case the water supply becomes contaminated.
During a Flood
Don’t attempt to drive through floodwaters.
Abandon your car if it stalls in an area where there are rapidly rising waters.
No matter where you are, move to higher ground.
Move away from rivers, streams, creeks and storm drains.
Avoid walking through floodwaters.
Obey traffic instructions and detour information. They are being issued for your safety.
After a Flood
The danger caused by floods isn’t over when the water recedes, so don’t attempt to return home until authorities say it’s safe to do so.
If your car has been submerged, let it dry out thoroughly before trying to start it.
Use battery-powered flashlights or lanterns to examine the premises. Do not attempt to turn the lights on until you are sure it is safe to do so.
Watch out for snakes that may have come into your home with flood waters. Use a stick to poke through debris.
Pump water gradually from flooded basements to avoid structural damage.
Shovel out mud while it is still moist.
Raise wall-to-wall carpeting to allow air to circulate through it.
When plaster walls have dried, brush off loose dirt. Wash with a mild soap solution and rinse with clean water.
Clean out heating and plumbing systems.
To prevent metal objects from rusting, clean immediately, wipe with a kerosene-soaked cloth and apply a light coat of oil.
Allow clothing and household fabrics to dry before brushing off loose dirt.
Boil any water you use for drinking or food preparation until the water supply is declared safe.
Throw out any food or medicine that has come in contact with flood waters.
Take wooden furniture outside to dry, but keep it out of direct sun-light to prevent warping.
Before the house is aired out, scrub all woodwork and floors with a stiff brush.
Saving Family Photos
Often when people are interviewed after a major disaster, they express profound sorrow over the loss of family photos. Houses and everything inside them can usually be replaced but photos, which contain years of memories and family history, cannot. These tips may help you preserve your water-damaged photos.
Most prints, negatives and slides can be air-dried. Put the image or picture side face up and avoid touching the front surface.
Hang the items on a clothesline, using wooden or other non-abrasive clothespins or use a fan to circulate the air. If using a fan, do not aim it directly at the photos.
For a framed photo, place the frame glass-side down and remove backing materials. Remove the photo and air-dry it. If the photo is stuck to the glass, don’t remove it. Keeping the glass side down, try to dry the frame with the photo inside.
If photos are covered with mud or dirt and are still wet, they may be gently rinsed in clean, cold water.
If negatives are stuck together or if your photos are badly damaged, consult with a photographic conservator at your local museum or historical society.