- Learn the safest route from your home or business to higher, safer ground if you have to leave in a hurry, but stay tuned to reports of changing flood conditions for your area.
- Keep a portable radio, emergency cooking equipment, and flashlights in working order, and keep extra batteries on hand.
- If emergency officials tell you to evacuate or leave your home, go immediately to a safe place.
- Do not walk through flowing water. Drowning is the number one cause of flood deaths, occurring mostly during flash floods. Water currents can be deceptive - six inches of flowing water can knock you off your feet.
- Do not drive through a flooded area. More people drown in their cars than in any other location during flooding conditions. If your car stalls in a flooded area, abandon it as soon as possible. Floodwaters can rise rapidly and sweep a car (and its occupants) away.
- If you are caught in your home by rising waters, move to the second floor and, if necessary, to the roof. Take warm clothing, a flashlight, and a portable radio with you. Then, wait for help. Do not try to swim to safety. Rescue teams will be looking for you.
- If, and only if, time permits:
- Turn off all utilities at the main switch and close the main gas valve.
- Do not touch any electrical equipment unless it is in a dry area and you are standing on a piece of dry wood while wearing rubber gloves and rubber-soled boots or shoes. Every source of electricity can be dangerous during and after flooding.
- Move valuables (including insurance policies and a list of valuables) to a higher elevation.
- Fill bathtubs, sinks, and jugs with clean water in case regular supplies are contaminated.
- Board up windows or protect them with storm shutters.
- Bring outdoor possessions in the house or tie them down securely.
- After the flood:
- Check for structural damage before entering the building.
- Do not touch power lines and electrical wires. The number two cause of flood-related deaths is electrocution. Electrical current can travel through water. Report downed power lines to the appropriate electric provider. Do not turn on any lights or appliances until an electrician has checked the system for short circuits.
- Be alert for gas leaks. Use a flashlight to inspect for damage. Do not use matches or an open flame unless you know that the gas has been turned off and you have ventilated the area. Report gas leaks to the appropriate utility provider.