Be Prepared- Flooding
WHAT IS A FLOOD?
Floods are the most common and widespread of all natural disasters--except
fire. Most communities in the United States can experience some kind of flooding
during and after winter storms, and heavy thunderstorms. Floods can be slow,
or fast rising but generally develop over a period of days. Winter storms in
California can be deadly, causing flooding, flash floods, high coastal surf,
- Flood waters can be extremely dangerous. The force of six inches of swiftly
moving water can knock people off their feet.
- Roads may be closed because they have been damaged or are covered with water.
Barricades are placed for your protection. If you come upon a
- Flash flood waters move at very fast speeds and can roll boulders, tear
out trees, destroy buildings, and obliterate bridges. Walls of water can reach
heights of 10 to 20 feet and generally are accompanied by a deadly cargo of
- Cars can easily be swept away in just 2 feet of moving water. If a car stalls
in flood water or flood waters rise around a car, it should be abandoned.
- If you must walk or drive in areas that have been flooded, stay on firm
ground. Flooding may have caused familiar places to change by eroding roads
or walkways. It can hide debris and be very slippery.
- Keep listening to the radio for news about what to do, where to go or places
to avoid. Keep a battery operated radio at home. The all-news station in the
San Francisco Bay Area is KCBS, 740-AM.
- Simple weather radios (that broadcast only weather service reports) can
be purchased for less than $25.
PREPARE FOR FLOODING
- Find out if you live in a flood-prone area
- Find out whether your property is above or below the flood stage water level
and learn about the history of flooding for your region. Talk to your city
or town Planning Department or the Yolo County Community Development Agency
if you live in an unincorporated area.
If you live in a frequently flooded area (or even if you don't):
- Stockpile emergency building materials, including plywood, plastic sheeting,
lumber, nails, hammer and saw, pry bars and shovels.
- If your property can be protected by sandbags, consider purchasing sand
and bags BEFORE the rainy season and stockpile as many filled bags as you
think you may need. Check out the Sandbag link to find out where to get sandbags
in Marin County, and how to fill and stack them.
- Inspect your Property for any signs of erosion. Rain has a way of making
small problems become BIG problems.
- Rake up and bag leaves as often as possible and ESPECIALLY before storms.
Leaves clog up the storm drain inlets and are the primary source of most flood
- Clean all drains around your home, including roof gutters and downspouts,
drain inlets and pipes, drainage ditches and driveway culverts.
- Check valves installed in building sewer traps to prevent flood waters from
backing up in sewer drains.
Plan and practice evacuation routes.
This plan should include information on the safest routes to shelters. Individuals
living in flash flood areas should have several alternative routes.
Keep your car fueled; if electric power fails, filling stations may not be able
Have personal comfort disaster supplies on hand at home and at work
- Flashlights and extra batteries
- First aid kit and manual
- Emergency food (consider special diets) and water
- Nonelectric can opener
- Essential medicines
- Cash and credit cards (if electric power fails, so do the ATM's)
- Warm clothing or blankets
Develop an emergency communication plan.
- Family members may become separated from one another during floods. Have
a plan for getting back together.
- Ask an out-of-state relative or friend to serve as the "family contact."
After a disaster, it's often easier to call long distance. Make sure everyone
in the family knows the name, address, and phone number of the contact person.
- Teach children how and when to call 9-1-1, police, fire department, and
which radio station to tune to for emergency information.
Excerpted from the COUNTY OF MARIN Emergency Services