It's important to be prepared for flooding, anywhere you live.
Flooding is the Nation's Most Common Natural Disaster

Flooding can happen in every U.S. state and territory. However, all floods are not alike.

Some can develop slowly during an extended period of rain. Others, such as flash floods, can occur quickly, even without any visible signs of rain. It’s important to be prepared for flooding no matter where you live, but particularly if you are in a low-lying area, near water or downstream from a dam.

Even a very small stream or dry creek bed can overflow and create flooding.

Plan & Prepare: Step 1 - Step 2 - Step 3 - Step 4

Family in a flood

Get an Emergency Supply Kit

which includes items like non-perishable food, water, a battery-powered or hand-crank radio,extra flashlights and batteries.

You may want to prepare a portable kit and keep it in your car.

This kit should include:

  • Copies of medication prescriptions and medical supplies.
  • Bedding and clothing, including sleeping bags and pillows.
  • Bottled water, a battery-operated radio and extra batteries, a first aid kit, a flashlight.
  • Copies of important documents: driver’s license, Social Security card, proof of residence, insurance policies, wills, deeds, birth and marriage certificates, tax records, etc.

To-Go Bag

Make sure you have a “to-go bag” ready in case you need to evacuate, include:

  • Water and non-perishable food.
  • Battery operated radio and batteries so you can get important information from local officials.
  • First aid kit.
  • Flashlight.
  • Maps.
  • Important documents such as proof residence, pictures of your family including pets, insurance policies, and tax records.
  • Comfortable clothing and blankets.
  • Unique family needs such as prescription medications, pet supplies, infant supplies or any other unique need your family may have.
Canned Food Bottled Water Radio Batteries Medicines Kit Map Flashlight

Prepare Your Family

Your family may not be together when disaster strikes, so it is important to know how you will contact one another, how you will get back together and what you will do in case of an emergency.

  • Plan places where your family will meet, both within and outside of your immediate neighbourhood.
  • It may be easier to make a long-distance phone call than to call throughout the territory, so an out-of-territory contact may be in a better position to communicate among separated family members.
  • You may also want to inquire about emergency plans at places where your family spends time: work, daycare and school. If no plans exist, consider volunteering to help create one.
  • Be sure to consider the specific needs of your family members: Notify caregivers and babysitters about your plan, and make plans for your pets.
  • Take a Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) class. Keep your training current.
Plan to Evacuate
  • Identify ahead of time where your family will meet, both within and outside of your immediate neighborhood.
  • Identify several places you could go in an emergency, a friend's home in another town, a motel or public shelter.
  • If you do not have a car, plan alternate means of evacuating.
  • If you have a car, keep a half tank of gas in it at all times in case you need to evacuate.
  • Take your Emergency Supply Kit.
  • Take your pets with you, but understand that only service animals may be permitted in public shelters. Plan how you will care for your pets in an emergency.

Familiarize yourself with the terms that are used to identify a flood hazard.

  • Flood Watch
    Flooding is possible.
    Tune in to NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio, or television for information
  • Flash Flood Watch
    Flash flooding is possible.
    Be prepared to move to higher ground; listen to NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio, or television for information.
  • Flood Warning
    Flooding is occurring or will occur soon.
    If advised to evacuate, do so immediately.
  • Flash Flood Warning
    A flash flood is occurring.
    Seek higher ground on foot immediately.
Person with water up to the knees Person running in flooded area Flooded houses Flooded buildings

Listen to Local Officials

Learn About the Emergency Plans that have been established in your area by local government.

In any emergency, always listen to the instructions given by local emergency management officials.

In the Event of a Hurricane

Prepare Your Home
  • HouseFind out if your home is at risk for flood and educate yourself on the impact a flood could have on you and your family. Then safeguard your home and possessions with flood insurance. Visit www.floodsmart.gov 
  • Elevate the furnace, water heater and electric panel in your home if you live in an area that has a high flood risk.
  • Consider installing "check valves" to prevent flood water from backing up into the drains of your home.
  • If feasible, construct barriers to stop floodwater from entering the building and seal walls in basements with waterproofing compounds.
  • Property insurance does not typically cover flood damage. Talk to your insurance provider about your policy and consider if you need additional coverage.
Prepare Your Business

Plan to stay in business, talk to your employees, and protect your investment.

  • BusinessCarefully assess how your company functions, both internally and externally, to determine which staff, materials, procedures and equipment are absolutely necessary to keep the business operating.
  • Identify operations critical to survival and recovery.
  • Plan what you will do if your building, plant or store is not accessible.
    • Consider if you can run the business from a different location or from your home.
    • Develop relationships with other companies to use their facilities in case a disaster makes your location unusable.
  • Learn about programs, services, and resources at US Small Business Administration.


Find additional information on how to plan and prepare for floods, what to do during and after a flood and learn about available resources by visiting the following: