Before A Flood—Make A Plan
- Make an emergency evacuation & communication plan for family and pets, including identifying where you will meet in an emergency.
- Talk with your neighbors about emergency plans, especially for those with special needs.
- Know where you and your loved ones will stay if your home is flooded.
- Check with your insurance agency about buying a flood insurance policy. Homeowner's insurance does not cover damage from flooding.
- Learn the safest route from home, work, or school to higher ground or your emergency meeting spot.
- Gather important documents, including a list of valuables, and keep them off-site, or in a waterproof container in your emergency supply kit.
First Aid & Medications
Assemble A Flood Emergency Kit
- a week’s supply of prescription medications
- non-prescription medication
- first aid kit
- hand sanitizer & hand wipes
- soap & toiletries
- change of clothing
- rain gear
- sturdy shoes
- sleeping bag and bedding
- food & provisions for all family members, including pets
- extra pair of glasses and/or contact lenses
- battery-powered radio with fresh batteries
- cell phone & charger
- whistle to signal for help
- flashlight with fresh batteries
- a list of family physicians and important medical information
- photocopies of important documents, including homeowners insurance
- identification cards, credit cards, cash & checks
Prepare Your HomeIf you live in a high-risk flood area:
- Elevate your furnace, water heater, electrical panel, and other utilities. Secure propane, kerosene & oil tanks.
- Stow or secure lawn mowers, barbeque grills & other items that may be carried away by floodwaters if your area is under a flood warning.
- Store cleaning supplies and other hazardous materials up high so they will not be carried away by floodwaters.
- Install check valves to prevent water from backing up drains.
- Have emergency waterproofing supplies, such as sandbags, and know how you can install them quickly, easily and effectively.
Securing Boats and Personal Watercraft (PWC) for a Flood Event
- Remove sails, flags, and secure everything exposed to wind, and use additional lines to secure the vessel.
- Boats and PWC stored in low lying areas adjacent to the water should also be secured in place, both when trailered and set on stands, as elevated water levels and wind conditions may shift and damage boats that are ashore, but in a flood zone.
- Floating docks are relatively safe from floodwaters, as long as the poles retaining the docks are of sufficient height to accommodate the added elevation of the surge.
During A Flood—Be Ready to Act
- Stay informed by tuning in to local radio, television, and weather reports. Battery-operated radios are affordable and widely available.
- Disconnect appliances if it is safe. Don’t go into any room if water covers electrical outlets or power cords.
- If told to evacuate, do so immediately. Be sure to lock your home.
BEWARE OF FLOODWATER!
If your house is surrounded by floodwater, move to the highest possible point and call 911. Do not drive into floodwaters. Two feet of water will carry your car away. Turn around—don’t drown! Do not stand on bridges or near the shore during a flood. Do not sightsee during a flood! You could put yourself and others in danger. Floodwater may be contaminated. Do not wade or swim in it!
After A Flood—Returning Home
- If advised to evacuate, wait until you are told it is safe before returning home.
- Stay informed— tune into local news for information on road closures, boil water alerts, etc.
- Exercise caution when entering flood-damaged buildings. Buildings may not be safe.
If your home has been flooded:
- Do not turn on electrical appliances until checked by a licensed electrician.
- Care should be taken to drain water gradually from the building to avoid structural damage.
Walls and floors should be disinfected or replaced to avoid growth of mold and mildew.
- NY Extension Disaster Education Network
- National Weather Service Flood Safety
- Department of Homeland Security
- National Flood Insurance Program
- NYS Office of Emergency Management
- First Steps to Flood Recovery
- FEMA Flood Preparedness
- Disaster Preparedness and Pets
- American Red Cross Repairing Your Flooded Home
- FEMA Flood maps
- New York State notification system
- Emergency Management Office Facebook Page
- School closings
- Hudson's efforts at flooding prevention and mitigation
This guide was prepared by Cornell Cooperative Extension of Columbia and Greene Counties for NYS Water Resources Institute and the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation Hudson River Estuary Program, with support from the NYS Environmental Protection Fund.