BEFORE A FLOOD
- Prepare a family disaster plan for floods, earthquakes and fires. Make an emergency kit for your home and for your car with emergency supplies such as a flashlight, batteries, water and non-perishable food. Move insurance policies, documents and other valuables to a safe deposit box.
- Be aware of the locations of streams and drainage channels in your neighborhood.
- Learn how to turn off utilities to your home and keep your car’s gas tank full so you won’t be stranded.
- Learn the best route to high ground to avoid flood waters.
- The smartest thing you can do to prepare for floods is purchase flood insurance.
DURING A FLOOD
- Be aware that flash flooding can occur and move immediately to higher ground.
- Tune to radio stations KCBS (740 AM) or KSJO (92.3 FM) for emergency information, traffic updates and instructions.
- If you must evacuate, turn off utilities at the main switches or valves. Disconnect electrical appliances. Do not touch electrical equipment if you are wet or standing in water.
- If advised to evacuate, do so immediately. Evacuation is easier and safer before floodwaters become too deep.
- Try to avoid walking through moving water. If you have to walk in water, walk where the water is not moving. Use a stick to check the firmness of the ground in front of you and to aid in balance.
- Do not drive into flooded areas. If floodwaters rise around your car, abandon the car immediately and move to higher ground. You and the vehicle can be quickly swept away. A foot of water will float many vehicles. Two feet of rushing water can carry away most vehicles, including SUVs and pick-ups.
AFTER A FLOOD
- Listen for news reports on whether the community’s water supply is safe to drink.
- Avoid floodwaters; water may be contaminated by oil, gasoline or raw sewage. Water may also be electrically charged from underground or downed power lines.
- Stay away from downed power lines, and report them to your power company.
- Return home only when authorities indicate it is safe.
- Never try to walk, swim, drive or play in floodwater.
- Stay out of any building that is surrounded by floodwaters. Use extreme caution when entering buildings; there may be hidden damage.
- Service damaged septic tanks, cesspools, pits and leaching systems as soon as possible.
- Clean and disinfect everything that got damaged by water. Mud left from floodwater can contain sewage and chemicals.
Santa Clara Valley Water District manages sandbag sites throughout Santa Clara County from late November through April each season. A list of these sites and downloadable (pdf) can be found at https://www.valleywater.org/sandbags.
The Santa Clara Valley Water District also provides a comprehensive Flood Protection Resource page with valuable community information resources, including flood insurance, flood zones, sandbags locations, emergency alerts and more.