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Flood Safety Tips
The Terminology
  • Flood Watch means Be Aware. Conditions are right for flooding to occur in your area.
  • Flood Warning means Take Action. Flooding is happening or about to happen very quickly.
  • Flash Flood is a flood that can happen within minutes or hours of heavy rainfall, a dam or levee failure, or city drains overflowing.
  • Levee/Dam is a man-made structure to contain or prevent water from moving.

Basic Tips
  • Turn Around, Don't Drown: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that over half of all flood-related drownings occur when a vehicle is driven into hazardous flood water. The next highest percentage of flood-related deaths is due to walking into or near flood waters. 
  • Avoid walking or driving through flood waters: a mere six (6) inches of fast-moving flood water can knock over an adult. It takes just 12 inches of rushing water to carry away a small car, while two (2) feet of rushing water can carry away most vehicles. It is NEVER safe to drive or walk into flood waters. 
  • If there is a chance of flash flooding, move to higher ground immediately
  • If stuck in your car as floodwaters rise but the water is not moving, abandon the car and move to higher ground.
  • If there is moving water and your car is stuck in floodwaters, DO NOT leave the car. Call 9-1-1 immediately.
  • During heavy rainfall, avoid camping or parking along streams, rivers and creeks. These areas can flood quickly and with little warning.
  • Turn on your TV/radio for latest weather updates and emergency instructions, Follow @SanJoseInfo on Twitter.

What to do when a Flood Watch is issued
What you should do
  • Stay tuned to your TV/radio for latest updates.
  • Know where you will go if you have to leave quickly. You may need to head to higher ground and on foot.
  • Make sure your emergency preparedness kit is fully stocked and includes a flashlight, batteries, cash, and first aid supplies
What to do for your home
  • Bring in outdoor furniture and move important indoor items to the highest possible floor. These actions may help protect them from flood damage. 
  • Disconnect electrical appliances. 
  • If instructed, turn off your gas and electricity at the main switch or valve.

What to do when a Flood Warning is issued
What you should do
  • Move immediately to higher ground or stay on high ground.
  • Evacuate if directed.
  • Avoid walking or driving through flood waters.

What to do after a flood
  • Return home only when authorities say it is safe.
  • Be aware of areas where floodwaters have receded and watch out for debris. Floodwaters often erode roads and walkways.
  • Do not attempt to drive through areas that are still flooded.
  • Avoid standing water as it may be electrically charged from underground or downed power lines.
  • Photograph damage to your property for insurance purposes.

View more flood safety tips from the National Weather Service.

These Flood Safety Tips are provided courtesy FEMA.