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Flooding Safety

Michigan Flood Ready

Flooding can happen gradually or abruptly during any Michigan season. Learn the terms and know what do before, during and after a flooding emergency or disaster.

Flooding Terms

  • Flood Watch: A flood watch indicates that flooding is possible in your area. Monitor local media channels and listen to your NOAA weather radio.
  • Flood Warning: Indicates that flooding is occurring or will occur in your area. Move to higher ground and listen to local media for evacuation orders.
  • Flash Flood: When rapid flooding occurs with great force. Low lying areas are at the greatest risk for flash flooding.
  • Flash Flood Watch: Indicates that flash flooding is possible in your area. Monitor local media channels and listen to your NOAA weather radio for updated information.
  • Flash Flood Warning: A flash flood is occurring. Seek higher ground and listen to local media and NOAA Weather Radios for evacuation orders and safety information.

Preparing for a Flood

  • Create an emergency preparedness kit with a 72-hour supply of water, including three gallons per person.
  • Scan and store important documents on an online, cloud-based program.
  • Put important documents and valuables in a water-proof container on the top floor of your home.
  • Understand how to safely turn off electricity and gas lines in your home.
  • Create an inventory of your household items and take photos of the interior and exterior of your home.
  • Consider installing sewer backflow valves to prevent flood water from backing up into your home through drain pipes.
  • Double-check sump pumps to ensure they are working properly. If possible, have a battery backup system.
  • Keep materials like sandbags, plywood, plastic sheeting and lumber handy for emergency water-proofing.
  • Find out how many feet your property is above or below possible flood levels. When predicted flood levels are broadcast, you can determine if you may be flooded.
  • Raise or flood-proof heating, ventilating and air conditioning equipment by elevating equipment above areas prone to flooding. Another method is to leave equipment where it is and build a concrete or masonry block flood wall around it.
  • Anchor fuel tanks. Unanchored fuel tanks can be easily moved by floodwaters.

 During a Flood

  • Turn off utilities if instructed to do so. Disconnect all electrical equipment.
  • Do not walk through moving water. Six inches is enough water to knock you down.
  • Do not drive in flooded areas. Six inches of water can cause you to lose control and two feet of water can sweep away your vehicle. Remember: Turn around, don't drown.
  • Listen to local media reports for information about if the water supply is safe to drink.
  • Avoid contacting flood waters because they can be contaminated by hazardous liquids and may contain sharp debris.
  • Report and stay 25 feet away from downed power lines.

 Driving in a Flood

  • Flooding is the No. 2 weather-related killer behind heat. More than half of these fatalities occur when someone drives into floodwaters.
  • Do not attempt to drive through a flooded road. The depth of water is not always obvious.
  • Do not drive around a barricade. Barricades are there for your protection. Turn around and go the other way.
  • Do not try to take short cuts--they may be blocked. Stick to designated routes.
  • Be especially cautious driving at night when it is harder to recognize flood dangers.

After a Flood

  • Listen to local media reports for information about the water supply safety.
  • Avoid flood waters because they can be contaminated by hazardous liquids and may contain sharp debris.
  • Be aware of areas that were previously flooded. The roads may be weakened or washed out.
  • Report and avoid downed power lines.
  • Clean and disinfect anything that was wet from the flood. Throw away any food that was touched by flood waters.

More Information/Additional Resources:

www.ready.gov/floods

www.floodsmart.gov