Having an evacuation plan in place before a flood occurs can help avoid confusion and prevent injuries and property damage.  A thorough evacuation plan should include:

  • Conditions that will activate the plan
  • Establish a chain of command at work, appoint a leader at home.
  • List emergency functions and who will perform them.
  • Specific evacuation procedures, including routes and exits and appoint a meeting place for afterward.
  • Procedures for accounting for personnel, customers and visitors to your business and family and friends at home.
  • Equipment for personnel/family.
  • Review the plan with workers/family.
  • Conduct a drill at least once per year.

Basic Safety Tips

  • Turn Around, Don’t Drown! ®
  • Avoid walking or driving through flood waters.
  • Just 6 inches of moving water can knock you down, and 2 feet of water can sweep your vehicle away.
  • If there is a chance of flash flooding, move immediately to higher ground. Flash floods are the #1 cause of weather-related deaths in the US.
  • If floodwaters rise around your car but the water is not moving, abandon the car and move to higher ground. Do not leave the car and enter moving water.
  • Avoid camping or parking along streams, rivers, and creeks during heavy rainfall. These areas can flood quickly and with little warning.

Warning Systems

Flood Watch: Flooding is possible. Monitor radio and television stations for more information.Flood Box

Flash Flood Watch: Flash flooding is possible. Be prepared to move to higher ground; monitor radio and television stations for more information.

Flood Warning: Imminent threat – Flooding is occurring or will occur soon; if advised to evacuate, do so immediately.

Flash Flood Warning: Imminent threat – A flash flood is occurring or will occur soon; seek higher ground on foot immediately.

For businesses, see OSHA’s Evacuation Plans and Procedures eTool for more information.

Contact your local county geologist or county planning department to get information about whether your business or residence is in an area that is prone to flooding.

If you are located in an area that is susceptible to flooding, you should monitor NOAA Weather Radio or commercial radio or television stations for information about flood watches and warnings. The box on the left defines the terms commonly used in flood watches and warnings.

If you receive information about the possibility of flash flooding, be prepared to move to higher ground immediately. In all cases, you should be prepared to evacuate before water levels rise and potentially cut off evacuation routes

EquippingFlood Safety Tips

Training and Exercises

  • Ensure that all workers/family members know what to do in case of an emergency.
  • Practice evacuation plans on a regular basis.
  • Update plans and procedures based on lessons learned from exercises.

After a Flood

Return home only when authorities say it is safe.

  • Be aware of areas where floodwaters have receded and watch out for debris. Floodwaters often erode roads and walkways.
  • Do not attempt to drive through areas that are still flooded.
  • Avoid standing water as it may be electrically charged from underground or downed power lines.
  • Photograph damage to your property for insurance purposes.