29 Flooding-High Water

Prevent and Respond to Flooding

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Be ready when the waters rise.

Take a few simple steps to prevent floods around your home or business.

Before the storm

  • Remove leaves, ice, snow and other debris away from any drains near street corners and low areas.
  • Dispose fallen leaves and other yard debris in compost areas, gardens or take to the landfill.
  • Direct downspouts at least 10 feet away from your home or business and clear gutters.
  • If you are in a flood-prone area, keep sandbags on hand.
  • Put chemicals such as, fertilizers, pesticides, and engine oil on high shelves.
  • Storm Drain 1

Prepare for flooding

  • Know the safest route from your home or business. Plan a spot to meet. Remember your pets.
  • Keep a list of valuables, including personal property, in a safe location.
  • Create an emergency kit:
    • Food*
    • Drinking water*
    • Medicine/first aid*
    • Pet food
    • Flashlights*
    • Radio
    • Batteries
    • Cooking equipment

*Keep extra in your vehicle. Ensure your vehicle has a full tank of gas.

During the flood

After the flood

  • To prevent mold growth, remove moisture where possible. Open windows and doors and warm the house.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water. Do not use contaminated water. Use an antibacterial hand sanitizer if soap and clean water are not available. 
  • Wear gloves and boots to clean up. Be sure your tetanus vaccine is up-to-date. Get a booster every 10 years.
  • Discard any food items that have been in contact with flood waters. 
  • Clean refrigerators or freezers that had contact with contaminated water with a bleach solution (1 cup bleach per gallon of water) and wipe clean after 1 minute.

If you get water from a well

  • Material carried by the flood can contaminate drinking water. Use bottled water or boil well water for three to five minutes before:
    • Drinking
    • Brushing teeth
    • Washing dishes
    • Preparing food
  • If you can't boil or buy water, use household bleach.
    • If the water is clear, use 8 drops per gallon of water.
    • If the water is cloudy, use 16 drops per gallon of water.
    • After adding the bleach to the water, wait 30 minutes to use.  
  • Flush and chlorinate your well. Use a certified laboratory to test your water for bacteria.

If you have a septic system

  • Do not pump the septic tank. Pumping the tank could cause it to break, float or could damage inlet and outlet pipes.
  • Do not put water from a basement sump pump into the septic system or onto the drainfield.
  • Take fewer showers or baths.
  • Do not use the washing machine or dishwasher.

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