Flood

Devastating floods occur throughout the U.S. every year. Ninety percent of all presidentially declared natural disasters involve flooding.

There are different types of flooding: river, coastal, storm surge, and inland. All can cause death, injury, and property destruction.

See how to determine your risk, prepare your family, learn about your building code, and identify ways to strengthen your home against flooding.

Make a plan for what to do before, during, and after the next flood

Before

An area can flood with little warning; create a plan and build a disaster supply kit that keeps you and your family safe. Consider purchasing flood insurance even if you are outside of a designated flood zone. Protect your home with wet and dry floodproofing methods.

If a flood is imminent, deploy sandbags to redirect stormwater and debris flows away from your home. Keep essential electronics fully charged. Evacuate if ordered to do so.

To prepare your business or organization for flooding, download the free Ready Business Inland Flooding Toolkit to kickstart your planning.

During

During a flood, monitor conditions, take all safety precautions, and follow the advice of authorities. If water enters your home, take refuge on a higher floor. Don’t enter any room where water covers the electrical outlets or if cords are submerged, especially a basement.

Turn Around Don’t Drown: Never travel through flooded areas or roadways.

After

Flood levels may continue to rise for days even after the rain stops; don’t try to re-enter an area until authorities say it is safe.

If water entered your home, create airflow and ventilation to prevent mold. Use generators safely until power is restored. Take photos of property damage and file a claim with your insurance company. Plan to repair and rebuild resiliently with wet and dry floodproofing to prevent damage from future floods.

Get customized recommendations to protect your home.

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Top Flood-Resilient Home Retrofits and Upgrades

Anchor Fuel Tanks
Anchor Fuel Tanks
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Ensure Your Ability to Recover: Buy A Flood Insurance Policy
Buy a Flood Insurance Policy
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Install Flood Vents
Install Flood Vents
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Install Sewer Backflow Valves
Install Sewer Backflow Valves
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Provide Flood Protection for Appliances
Provide Flood Protection for Appliances and Mechanical Equipment
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Provide Flood Protection for Utilities
Provide Flood Protection for Utilities
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Free or Low-Cost Things You Can Do Right Now to Prepare for Floods

Build a Disaster Supply Kit
Build a Disaster Supply Kit
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Design Your Landscape for Flooding
Design Your Landscape for Flooding
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Get an Insurance Checkup
Get an Insurance Checkup
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How to Use Sandbags
How to Use Sandbags
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Make a Family Disaster Plan
Make a Family Disaster Plan
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Make a Home Inventory
Create an Insurance Home Inventory
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Understanding Evacuation – Know Your Zone
Understanding Evacuation - Know Your Zone
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Watch vs. Warning Floods

A Flood Watch is issued when conditions are favorable for a specific hazardous weather event to occur. A Flood Watch is issued when conditions are favorable for flooding. It does not mean flooding will occur, but it is possible.

Watch vs. Warning Floods

A Flood Warning is issued when the hazardous weather event is imminent or already happening. A Flood Warning is issued when flooding is imminent or occurring.

A Flash Flood Warning is issued when a flash flood is imminent or occurring. If you are in a flood prone area move immediately to high ground. A flash flood is a sudden violent flood that can take from minutes to hours to develop. It is even possible to experience a flash flood in areas not immediately receiving rain.

We’re here to help you before, during, and after a disaster

The Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH) — a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization — is the leading consumer advocate for strengthening homes and safeguarding families from natural and manmade disasters.

Buyer’s Guide to Resilient Homes

This guide helps homeowners and homebuyers understand their resilience options.

National Disaster Resilience Conference

This annual conference brings together the nation’s leading voices in disaster safety.

No Code No Confidence – Inspect2Protect

Inspect2Protect will help you understand the building code where you live.

Protect Your Home from Flood Damage

Protect Your Home from Flood Damage

Turn Around Don't Drown

Turn Around Don't Drown

Learn About Floods

How deadly, destructive, and widespread is flooding?

Anywhere it can rain, it can flood, making flooding risk one of the deadliest and most widespread hazards across the United States. Here is why:

Flooding can affect individuals, communities, and even entire regions. Each year, flooding causes more deaths than any other thunderstorm-related hazard. The most common flood deaths occur when someone drives into a flooded street, bridge, or overpass.

Floodwaters can carry bacteria and viruses that can cause illness, and stagnant water can become a breeding ground for mosquitoes and other disease-carrying insects. Flooding can also reduce the supply of clean drinking.

Floods can:

  • Displace people from their homes, often permanently. In extreme cases, floods can cause entire communities to be evacuated and cause extensive damage to infrastructure, such as roads and bridges.
  • Cause significant damage to homes, businesses, and infrastructure. Floodwater can destroy buildings and possessions, and the cost of repairs and replacement can be substantial.
  • Have a significant economic impact on affected regions, particularly if businesses are damaged or shut down. The cost of repairs, loss of productivity, and increased insurance rates can all have long-term effects on the local economy.
  • Have a significant impact on the environment. They can cause erosion, ecosystem damage, and pollution from sewage and other hazardous materials.

It is essential to take flood warnings seriously. Prepare for potential flooding by monitoring weather alerts, having an emergency kit, and following evacuation orders.

Why is it dangerous to walk or drive through flood waters?

The reason that so many people drown during flooding is that they underestimate the incredible power of water. Six inches of fast-moving flood water can knock over an adult. Twenty-four inches, or two feet, of rushing water will carry away most vehicles, including pickups and SUVs.

If you come to an area that is covered with water, you cannot determine the depth of the water or the condition of the ground under the water. This is especially true at night when it is hard to see hidden hazards such as deep potholes, debris, or downed power lines.

Some of the other reasons to avoid driving in flooded areas include:

  1. Water can enter your engine through the air intake, causing damage to the engine and potentially making the vehicle inoperable. Moreover, lithium-ion batteries in electric vehicles, such as cars or golf carts, can short circuit when damaged by a collision or submerged in water. The short-circuiting causes ignition, sometimes even hours after water exposure.
  2. Lithium-ion battery fires are difficult to extinguish, release toxic chemicals, and often burn for hours. They can ignite adjacent structures when they are parked in garages and near homes.
  3. Even with a four-wheel-drive system, driving through floodwater can cause a loss of traction, making it difficult to control the vehicle.
  4. Even if the vehicle does not suffer engine damage or loss of traction, it can still become stuck in the floodwaters.
  5. Driving through flood water can also create a dangerous situation for other drivers and emergency responders who may need to access the area.

Play it smart. Play it safe. Whether driving or walking, any time you come to a flooded road, TURN AROUND, DON’T DROWN!