Flood Safety Tips

Before the Flood:

  1. Check with the Community Development Department on the extent of past flooding in your area. Department staff can tell you about the causes of repetitive flooding, what the City is doing about it, and what would be an appropriate flood protection level. They can also visit your property to discuss flood protection alternatives.

  2. Prepare for flooding by doing the following:
    • Know the flood safety guidance discussed later in this letter.
    • Know how to shut off the electricity and gas to your house when a flood comes.
    • Make a list of emergency numbers and identify a safe place to go.
    • Make a household inventory.
    • Put insurance policies, valuable papers, medicine, etc., in a safe place.
    • Develop a disaster response plan (See the Red Cross’ website for information on how to prepare a disaster plan for your family).
    • Get a copy of ‘Repairing Your Flooded Home,’ which can be found on the Red Cross’ Website, too.
  3. Consider some permanent flood protection measures.
    • Mark your fuse box to show the circuits to the floodable areas. Turning off the power to these floodable areas can reduce property damage (fires) and save lives.
    • Consider flood protection alternatives such as flood walls or berms.
    • Note that some flood protection measures may require permits. Please check with the Engineering Department and/or the Building Inspections Department for more information.
    • A copy of "Homeowner’s Guide to Retrofitting: Six Ways to Protect Your House from Flooding" is available at no charge to download.
  4. Talk to the Community Development Department for information on financial assistance.
    • If you are interested in elevating your building above the flood level. 
    • Get a flood insurance policy – it will help pay for repairs after a flood and, in some cases, it will help pay the costs of elevating a substantially damaged building.
  5. Get a flood insurance policy.
    • Homeowner’s insurance policies do not cover damage from floods. However, some owners have purchased flood insurance because it was required by the bank when they received a mortgage or home improvement loan.
    • Don’t wait until the next flood to buy flood insurance protection. In most cases, there is a 30-day waiting period before the National Flood Insurance Program coverage takes effect.
    • Contact your insurance agent for more information on rates and coverage.
    • During/After the flood:
    • Ask for a licensed electrician, plumber, etc., to check or turn on your power, water, and/or gas.
    • Do not wade through flood waters due to the danger of pollutants, debris (nails, glass, etc.), and animals (snakes, ants, etc.).
    • Flood waters are often murky and depth is hard to determine. Do not drive through flood waters! Turn around, don't drown!
    • If emergency evacuation is necessary, please heed the warnings of the City Emergency Management Department and follow the instructions to evacuate - it saves lives of those around you and possibly of the emergency workers responding.

Know Your Flood Hazard

Floods are among the most frequent and costly natural disasters. Conditions that cause floods include heavy rain for several hours or days that saturate the ground. Flash floods occur suddenly due to rapidly rising water along a stream or low-lying area.

Most stream flooding areas have been mapped by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA); however, not all flood-prone areas, areas with poor drainage, or localized street flooding have been mapped. Your property may never have been flooded or may be shown on the FEMA maps to be outside the mapped limits of flooding.

Most areas of the City have yet to see the record 100-year flood event, which is a 1% chance of occurring in any given year. There is no guarantee your property will never flood. Statistics show that the 1% annual chance flood has approximately a 30% chance of occurring over a 30-year mortgage period.

For those living outside the 1% annual chance floodplain, also referred to as a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) on the City’s flood maps, flooding is still possible. Approximately 30% of all flood claims occur outside the SFHA in areas considered minimal to moderate flooding. This overwhelmingly indicates that everyone should have flood insurance, which is not covered under a standard homeowners policy.

FEMA Flood Map Service Center