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Be smart. Take part. Prepare.


Scene of a flood down a street being blocked by several sandbags. Be smart. Take part. Prepare.

If you live in a Flood prone zone:

  • Know your sources of information
  • Prepare your home and workplace
  • Develop an emergency communications plan
  • Know what to do when a flood approaches

For more detailed information, download How to Prepare for a Flood, a hazard-specific guide, which provides information on the basics of each hazard, how to protect yourself and your property, and what steps to take now.

Flooding is the most common natural disaster in the United States and can happen anywhere. Flooding can occur during any season, but some areas of the country are at greater risk at certain times of the year. Coastal areas are at greater risk for flooding during hurricane season (i.e., June to November), while the Midwest is more at risk in the spring and during heavy summer rains. Ice jams occur in the spring in the Northeast and Northwest. Even the deserts of the Southwest are at risk during the late summer monsoon season. Flooding can happen in any U.S. state or territory. It is particularly important to be prepared for flooding if you live in a low-lying area near a body of water, such as a river, stream, or culvert; along a coast; or downstream from a dam or levee. The physical destruction caused by flooding depends on the speed and level of the water, the duration of the flood, terrain and soil conditions, and the built environment (e.g., buildings, roads, and bridges).Everyone should be aware of flood hazards, but especially if you are in low-lying areas, near water, behind a levee or downstream from a dam. If you are in a flood-prone area, be prepared to evacuate flooded areas on short notice, elevate electrical panels and utilities, waterproof your basements, clear debris from gutters and downspouts, and consider purchasing flood insurance.

For more information on protecting yourself, your property and your belongings from natural hazards, the America's PrepareAthon! Protective Guidance documents can assist. The Be Smart-Know Your Alerts and Warnings factsheet provides a brief summary of the various alerts and warnings available from Federal, state, and local governments as well as the private sector that you can sign up for to stay informed and be ready to take action to be safe. The Be Smart – Protect Critical Documents and Valuables is a checklist that can help you to take an inventory of your household documents (e.g., financial and medical records), contacts, and valuables. You can find both of these resources, as well as additional Protective Guidance documents, here.

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