Flood Preparedness

Floods are one of the most common hazards in the United States. Flood effects can be local, impacting a neighborhood or community, or very large, affecting entire river basins and multiple states.

Flash Floods
However, all floods are not alike. Some floods develop slowly, sometimes over a period of days. But flash floods can develop quickly, sometimes in just a few minutes and without any visible signs of rain. Flash floods often have a dangerous wall of roaring water that carries rocks, mud, and other debris and can sweep away most things in its path.

Overland Floods
Overland flooding occurs outside a defined river or stream, such as when a levee is breached, but still can be destructive. Flooding can also occur when a dam breaks, producing effects similar to flash floods.

Be aware of flood hazards no matter where you live, but especially if you live in a low-lying area, near water or downstream from a dam. Even very small streams, gullies, creeks, culverts, dry stream beds, or low-lying ground that appear harmless in dry weather can flood. Every state is at risk from this hazard.

The information on this page was supplied by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
  1. Pre-Flood Preparedness
  2. During a Flood
  3. After a Flood
  4. Insurance

Before a Flood

To prepare for a flood, you should:
  • Avoid building in a flood-prone area unless you elevate and reinforce your home
  • Elevate the furnace, water heater, and electric panel if susceptible to flooding
  • Install check valves in sewer traps to prevent floodwater from backing up into the drains of your home
  • Contact community officials to find out if they are planning to construct barriers (levees, beams, flood walls) to stop floodwater from entering the homes in your area

To learn more about what you can do to protect your home, we encourage you to visit FEMAs Safer, Stronger, Protected Homes & Communities page.