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.
- Is you have a septic system, keep it well maintained so that it will be prepared for the flood. Turn off power to the system and seal entry points if possible.
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:
- Drinking water*
- Medicine/first aid*
- Pet food
- Cooking equipment
*Keep extra in your vehicle. Ensure your vehicle has a full tank of gas.
During the flood
- Check the National Weather Service for updates.
- Follow evacuation advisories.
- Watch for washed-out roads and downed power lines. Don't drive over a flooded road.
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:
- 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
- Stay out of the area if sewage backs up.
- 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.