Be aware of the steps to take to ensure personal safety.
Before a Flood:
To prepare for a flood, you should:
- Avoid building in a floodprone 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.
To learn more about what you can do to protect your home visit Information and Guidance on Building Safer page. For more information on what to do before, during and after a natural disaster, visit Emergency Management.
During a Flood:
- Do not panic.
- Tune in to local media for flood watches and warnings.
- Heed warnings from officials – evacuate when orders are given.
Know your hurricane evacuation level, know your evacuation routes and plan where you will go.
- Prepare a small bag with essentials.
- Be cautious at night.
- Have battery-operated flashlights, radios and televisions in working condition.
- Shut off water service, gas service and electricity to your home.
- Ensure your pets safety. Kennel space is limited and there are only a few shelters that will accept pets. Develop a plan.
- Do not walk through moving water. Six inches of moving water can make you fall. If you have to walk in water, 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 floodwaters rise around your car, abandon the car and move to higher ground if you can do so safely. You and the vehicle can be quickly swept away.
- Six inches of water will reach the bottom of most passenger cars causing loss of control and possible stalling.
- One foot of water will float many vehicles.
- Two feet of rushing water can carry away most vehicles including sport utility vehicles (SUV’s) and pick-ups.
After a Flood:
The following are guidelines for the period following a flood:
- Listen for news reports to learn whether the community’s water supply is safe to drink.
- Avoid floodwaters; water may be contaminated by oil, gasoline, or raw sewage. Water may also be electrically charged from underground or downed power lines.
- Avoid moving water.
- Be aware of areas where floodwaters 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.
- Return home only when authorities indicate it is safe.
- Stay out of any building if it is surrounded by floodwaters.
- Use extreme caution when entering buildings; there may be hidden damage, particularly in foundations.
- Service damaged septic tanks, cesspools, pits, and leaching systems as soon as possible. Damaged sewage systems are serious health hazards.
- Clean and disinfect everything that got wet. Mud left from floodwater can contain sewage and chemicals.
- Watch for critters such as snakes, raccoons, possums and insects that may have "moved" into your evacuated home, since they too look for shelter and releaf from flood waters.
Be prepared. Visit Pinellas County Emergency Management for more information about local emergency preparedness.