Before a Flood
What causes a flood?
Heavy rainfall, long periods of rain, rapid snowmelt, clogged drains, dam breakage, levee failure, overflowing bodies of water (i.e. streams, rivers, and lakes).
They can be slow or fast. They can injure people and animals, cause loss of utilities, disrupt transportation, create land movement, and damage property.
Know Your Risk
- Visit PDX Ready, Oregon HazVu, the Washington Flood Map, and the FEMA Flood Map to determine the flooding risk in your area. Find out if you are near a major flood infrastructure system, like a dam or levee.
- Have an emergency plan and know how to stay informed.
- Gather emergency supplies. Make sure you have lots of clean water. Consider children, pets, and anyone with additional needs.
- Water and debris can damage electrical components and cause them to catch fire. Have a fire extinguisher and make sure everyone in your family knows where it is and how to use it.
- Most homeowner, renter, and business insurance policies do not cover flood damage. Learn how you can buy flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program and some private insurers.
During a Flood
- Monitor the news and stay aware of weather conditions. If you live near a lake, river, or creek, check local river gauges. If you live on a slope and it has been raining a lot, be ready for possible land movement.
- Evacuate the area if you think a flood may occur or if you are told to do so by local authorities. It’s critical that you know how to stay informed.
- Stay out of flood waters, off bridges with fast-moving water, and away from power lines or objects touching power lines.
- Bring in or secure outdoor items, such as lawn furniture, grills, and trash cans.
- Turn off electrical power when there is standing water or fallen power lines, or before you evacuate. Turn off gas and water supplies before you evacuate.
If You Need Shelter
During a disaster, the Red Cross and the County help people who are displaced from their homes. They set up shelters (or “Disaster Resources Centers”) to connect people with services and provide a place to sleep for the first few days. Contact 211info to find resources near you.
- CALL 211 or 1-866-698-6155 (24/7)
- TTY dial 711 and call 1-866-698-6155
- TEXT your zip code to 898211 (TXT211) Mon-Fri 9am-5pm
- EMAIL firstname.lastname@example.org
- DOWNLOAD the app
- SEARCH online at 211info.org
Interpreters for 100+ languages available by phone; text and email is in English and Spanish.
After a Flood
Do not walk or swim through floodwater. It can be very unsafe. It may contain sharp objects, chemicals, human waste, animal waste, power lines, or other dangerous items.
- Do not drink, cook with, clean with, or bathe in flood water - it could make you very sick.
- Local officials will provide information about the safety of your water. Stay informed and sign up to receive alerts.
- Know how to treat water and handle food when the power goes out.
- Wash your hands with soap and clean water every time you touch flood water and before every meal.
- Do not allow children or pets to play in floodwater areas or play with toys that have been contaminated.
What to Do When Your Water Source is Flooded
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