Flood Information


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Be Prepared for Flooding

Planning is a vital part of fighting a flood.

“You need to plan how you will protect your property,” says [insert name and title] of [insert county name]. “You also need to have plans in place in case you lose electrical power or have to evacuate. Planning will help keep you and your family from panicking and having to make last-minute decisions.”

Here are some tips to help you make those plans:

  • Check with your local emergency or floodplain management office or building department for information on the risk of flooding in your area.
  • Listen to the radio, watch TV or visit your city or county’s website for the latest flood information.
  • Bring in outdoor furniture or other movable objects, and move belongings and hazardous material, such as agricultural chemicals, paint and cleaning supplies, to higher elevations.
  • Make sure your sump pump is operating properly.
  • Put appliances such as freezers, washing machines and dryers on wood or cement blocks to keep their motors above floodwaters or move them to higher ground.
  • If you can’t move large appliances, wrap them in polyethylene film and tie the film in place with a cord or rope. Floodwaters still will get into them, but most of the silt won’t, so cleanup will be easier.
  • Turn off electrical power to flood-threatened appliances and parts of your home or other buildings that could be flooded.
  • Do not touch electrical equipment if you are wet or standing in water.
  • Make sure adults and older children know where electrical service panels and water and natural gas mains are and how to shut them off if necessary.
  • Have a backup power source, such as a standby generator.
  • Learn how to build dikes correctly. Poorly constructed dikes could fail.
  • Get a tetanus shot in case you are exposed to floodwaters.
  • Plug basement floor and other drains (toilet, washing machine, sinks).
  •  Protect your valuable papers, such as birth and marriage certificates, deeds and insurance policies. Store them in water- and fire-resistance containers or a safe deposit box and move them out of the reach of floodwaters. Plan to take important documents with you if you must evacuate. Also consider making copies for family members or friends.
  • Make an inventory of household items and other property, including the purchase price and date. Consider making a video or taking photos of your property.
  • Gather water, food that doesn’t need to be cooked or refrigerated, a nonelectric can opener, battery-powered radio and flashlights and extra batteries in case the power goes out. A kerosene-powered lamp, camp stove and fire extinguisher also are helpful.
  • If the electricity goes off, take perishable food to a friend’s home or commercial locker plant or try to keep it cold with ice or dry ice.
  • Assemble supplies for a possible evacuation. Those items include water; nonperishable food; paper or plastic plates, cups and utensils; extra clothing and shoes; blankets or sleeping bags; a first aid kit; prescription medication; special items for babies or the elderly; cash and credit cards; and important phone numbers.
  • Make an evacuation plan. Decide where you would go if you are forced to evacuate, such as a family member or friend’s home or a local shelter. Know how you would get there, especially if some streets or roads are flooded. Then practice your plan.
  • Designate a contact person who family members should call in case they get separated while evacuating. Make sure everyone has the contact’s phone numbers.
  • Make a plan for pets. Shelters don’t allow pets because of health issues. Leaving pets behind can pose a health risk to them, and stressed pets can damage your home.
  • Keep your vehicle fueled in case you have to evacuate because gas stations may have been flooded or can’t operate because of a power outage.
  • Do not walk through moving water. Six inches of moving water can cause you to fall. If you must walk through water, walk where the water isn’t moving and use a stick to check the firmness of the ground in front of you.
  • Do not drive in flooded areas. Six inches of water will reach the bottom of most passenger vehicles, which can cause you to lose control or the vehicle to stall. A foot of water will float many vehicles. Two feet of rushing water can carry away most vehicles, including sport utility vehicles and pickups.

 For more information, visit www.ag.ndsu.edu/flood or www.extension.org/Floods.

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