What To Do In Case of a Flood Event

Office of Emergency Preparedness
 

What do I need to know about floods?

Floods are the most common and widespread of all natural hazards. Some floods develop over a period of days, but flash floods can result in raging waters in just a few minutes. Be aware of flood hazards, especially if you live in a low-lying area, near water or downstream from a dam.


What to do before a flood?

  • Know the terms used to describe flooding:
    • FLOOD WATCH - Flooding is possible. Stay tuned to NOAA radio or commercial radio or television for additional information.
    • FLASH FLOOD WATCH - Flash flooding is possible. Move to higher ground. A flash flood could occur without any warning. Listen to NOAA radio or commercial radio or television for additional 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.
    • URBAN AND SMALL STREAM ADVISORY - Flooding of small streams, streets and low-lying areas is occurring.
  • Learn the elevation level of your property. This will help you know how your property will be affected when flood levels are forecasted.
  • Purchase a NOAA weather radio with battery backup and a tone-alert feature which automatically alerts you when a Watch or Warning is issued.
  • Be prepared to evacuate.
    • Plan a place to meet your family in case you are separated from one another in a disaster and cannot return home. Choose an out-of-state contact for everyone to call to say they are okay.
    • Determine how you would care for family members who may live elsewhere but might need your help in a flood. Determine any special needs your neighbors might have.
    • Assemble a disaster supplies kit. Include a battery-operated radio, flashlights and extra batteries, first aid supplies, sleeping supplies and clothing.
    • Know how to shut off electricity, gas and water at main switches and valves.
    • Consider purchasing flood insurance. Flood losses are not covered under homeowners' insurance policies.
    • Consider options for flood proofing your home.
    • Make a record of your personal property.

What to do during heavy rains?

  • Be aware of flash floods. If there is any possibility of a flash flood occurring, move immediately to higher ground.
  • Listen to radio or television stations for local information.
  • Be aware of streams, drainage channels and areas known to flood suddenly.
  • Secure your home. If you have time, bring outdoor garden equipment and lawn furniture inside or tie it down. Move essential items to the upper floors of your house.
  • If instructed, turn off utilities at the main switches or valves.
  • Fill your car with fuel.
  • Sterilize the bathtub, then fill the bathtub with water in case water becomes contaminated or services are cut off.
  • Stay away from flood waters. They could be contaminated.
  • Do now walk through moving water. Six inches of moving water can knock you off your feet. If you must walk in a flooded area, walk where the water is not moving. Use a stick to check the firmness of the ground in front of you.
  • Do not drive into flooded areas. If flood waters rise around your car, abandon the car and move to higher ground, if you can do so safely. You and your vehicle can be quickly swept away as flood waters rise.

What to do after a flood?

  • Stay away from flood waters. The water may be contaminated by oil, gasoline or raw sewage. The water may also be electrically charged from underground or downed power lines.
  • Stay away from moving water. Moving water only six inches deep can sweep you off your feet.
  • Be aware of areas where flood waters have receded. Roads may have weakened and could collapse under the weight of a car.
  • Stay away from downed power lines and report them to the power company.
  • Stay away from disaster areas unless authorities ask for volunteers.
  • Continue listening to a battery-powered radio for information about where to get assistance for housing, clothing and food.
  • Consider your family's health and safety needs. Wash your hands frequently with soap and clean water if you come in contact with flood waters. Throw away food that has come in contact with flood waters. Listen for news reports to learn whether the community's water supply is safe to drink.
  • Contact your insurance agent.

Presented by:

City-Parish of Lafayette, Office of Emergency Preparedness,
Lafayette, Louisiana