How to Prepare for a Flood: Flood Preparedness Checklist

August 12, 2021 8 min read

flood preparedness guide

It's time to get ready for the upcoming flood season.

Flooding becomes more likely as the weather warms up, so you – and your home – should be prepared with a flood preparedness plan.

Aside from the physical destruction of property, a flood may be a very emotional experience.

Recovery can be difficult, frustrating, and expensive if you are not prepared for the likelihood of a flood.

Knowing how to prepare for a flood, plus a few hours spent securing your home, assembling an emergency kit, and developing a flood preparedness plan can help you survive the effects of a flood.

Below is a flood preparedness checklist providing 13 ways to be ready for flooding season! Download a printable emergency preparedness checklist to go along with it here.

Flood Preparedness Checklist Download

1. Know the Flood Risk in Your Community

floods in small towns

The critical determinant of your risk is whether or not you live in a floodplain, which may be determined by using flood maps. Living in a flood plain with greatly enhance your need for flood preparedness.

Check with your local council about local flood plans or records that detail problem areas, or look up your address in the Flood Map Service Center to learn if you live, work, or travel in the regions prone to flooding.

Several other elements put you in danger of flooding:

  • If your main floor is below the area's base flood elevation, for example, you're at risk of flooding.
  • If you're near a body of water, such as a lake or a river, you're also at risk.
  • You're especially vulnerable near the ocean.

2. Consider Purchasing Flood Insurance

flooding insurance

Flood insurance is the greatest method to safeguard your home and valuables from flood damage - don't allow your hard work to be washed away.

Check your insurance policy to see if you are covered for flood damage.

If feasible, purchase or renew flood insurance to help you recover from the effects of flooding.

Homeowner’s insurance policies do not cover flooding.

If you reside in a low-risk location, insurance shouldn't be prohibitively expensive. It will be more costly if you live in a high-risk area, but it will be worth it if your home is ever flooded.

In fact, if you have a federally insured loan, you must have it in a high-risk location.

In addition, it typically takes up to 30 days for a policy to go into effect, so the time to buy is well before a disaster. ​​

Take pictures and videos of all of your valuables and key household objects.

Keep these documents safe because they will be needed when filing insurance claims.

You can get insurance through a federal program such as the National Flood Insurance Program by filling out forms on their website. Get flood coverage under the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).

3. Make Flood Preparation Improvements Around Your Home

home improvement for floods

Improve drainage by trimming landscaping to ensure all rainwater flows away from your home.

Clean the rain gutters on your home, as well as the gutters along your curb, to avoid an accumulation of water.

Put sealant around basement windows and the base of ground-level doors to prevent water seepage.

Ensure your furnace, air conditioner, electrical unit, and hot water heater are elevated above the ground to avoid flooding.

Electrical outlets, major appliances, and wiring should also be a foot above any potential floods.

Again, these tasks should be handled by a professional.

Move furniture and valuables to a secure spot, such as an attic or the highest floor of your home, if flooding is expected or imminent.

Put in a Sump Pump to Stop Flooding Before it Starts

A sump pump is a device that removes pooled water from basements.

Install one in your home if your area is prone to floods, and make sure it has a battery backup if your power goes out.

Also, check valves should be installed.

Have Back-Flow Valves Installed in Drains, Toilets, and Sinks

These valves keep floodwaters from overflowing into drains.

4. Prepare Your Emergency Flood Kit

emergency flooding kit

Make a list of the items you'd need or want to take with you if you had to leave your house quickly.

Then, in a "Go Bag" or other container, keep the essential emergency items so, you have everything you need and make sure to keep your gluten free emergency food to those who are experiencing medical conditions associated with gluten.

Gather nonperishable foods, cleaning materials, and water for several days. It would be of great help as well if you consider buying more survival healthy foods like our bulk freeze dried meat that lasts longer in times of emergency and know the difference between freeze dried vs dehydrated foods.

Then, you need to leave right away or if your area's services are shut off. Include a flashlight, batteries, cash, and first aid supplies. To prepare for any emergency, you can get the Mini First Aid Kit by American Red Cross.

You'll need a multifunctional tool that has a screwdriver and a knife, among other things.

Extra phone chargers and a spare set of keys are also a good idea. That means bringing enough water for each individual to drink a gallon per day.

Pack non-perishable items like canned products that don't need to be cooked for food. Keep these items in a water-resistant container.

Don't forget to include a can opener and some disposable dining utensils with your food.

Keep a first-aid kit, as well as soap, toothpaste, toothbrushes, shampoo, and other toiletry goods, in your box.

Hand wipes with antibacterial properties are also helpful to have on hand.

Remember that your pets need to eat and drink as well, so factor them in.

5. Prepare Your Flood Emergency Food Kit


emergency food kits


During a flood, there's a good chance you may not have access to your regular food sources. Your kitchen may have flooded, your pantry may be underwater, or you may have had to flee the area, and that's when survival food is going to be critical.

Use common sense while determining what foods to stock. The dried beans you stocked up on may not be able to be cooked at a time when you don't have reliable access to your stove. A good family survival kit is a lifesaver at a time like this. 

Also make sure to stock up on any special need food items you have, like if you need dairy free emergency food or gluten free survival food, an emergency is the wrong time to wreck your digestion.

Consider what you might be able to use and how you can go about preparing it.

Storing difficult-to-prepare items that are unlikely to be consumed could be an expensive mistake.

Even though an emergency is unlikely to cut off your food supply for two weeks, keep a quantity that will last that long on hand in case things are worse than they seem.

6. Protect Your Valuables from Flooding in Waterproof Containers

Place important personal documents like birth certificates, passports, medical records, and insurance paperwork in a safe, dry location.

Original documents, valuables, and vital medical supplies should be kept in a watertight safe deposit box in an accessible area.

Make duplicates and digital copies of critical documents such as all of your insurance policies, as well as photographs of your belongings and property and any other relevant documents, and keep them in a safe location above potential water levels.

7. Make a Plan for Evacuating the Flood Zone

emergency plan

Know the best routes in and out of your neighborhood and other parts of the city.

If you need to evacuate, you'll want to stay on higher ground.

Flood maps, which depict where the heaviest flooding will occur in your area, are the best approach to plan an evacuation route.

Have a meeting spot set up for your family members in case you become separated.

Make a plan and write it down.

Go over it all together so that everyone is on the same page.

Keep a list of emergency telephone numbers on display.

Many communities also have areas designated for emergencies where you can go.

Evacuation routes, shelter plans, and flash flood reactions should all be learned and practiced with your family, so you know what to do and are prepared.

8. Teach Your Kids How To Respond to a Flood

When a flood is approaching or has occurred, the physical protection of you, your loved ones, and your pets should be your top priority.

Show your kids emergency phone numbers, which you have prominently displayed in your home.

Demonstrate how to dial the numbers and go over what they should say in the event of an emergency.

Also, have a local safety contact whom they may contact if they have an issue.

Click here to learn how to make the best family emergency plan now!

9. Prepare a Pets' Emergency Flooding Plan

kid and dog stuck in flood

Don't forget to include your pets in your evacuation plan while thinking about how you'll get out of the house.

Also, For example, if don't forget to include other pet-related products.

If you evacuate, they'll need food and water containers, as well as meals and their regular meds.

Also, bring something that will make them feel at ease, such as a toy or a blanket. Keep in mind that not all emergency shelters allow pets.

Make sure you have different carriers for all of your pets so you can evacuate with them if necessary.

Carries keep pets contained so that you may evacuate them safely.

If you are relocating, take your pets with you if it is safe to do so.

If not, provide adequate food and water and move them to a safer place.

If you must remain in your home, take your dogs with you to the highest point in the house.

10. Take Supplies When You Leave

supplies pack in car for flood

If your neighborhood is under a Flood or Flash Flood Warning, get out as soon as possible, primarily if local authorities have issued an evacuation order.

People, Prescriptions, Paper, Personal Needs, and Priceless Items are the “Five Ps of Evacuation,” according to FEMA.

When informed how to prepare for a flood during a mass evacuation, drivers are encouraged to have 100 miles worth of gasoline already in the tank.

During an evacuation, gas stations may experience long queues, boost prices, or run out of fuel. It's also a good idea to bring a gas can with you if you don't come across another station for a long time. And don't forget to grab your emergency food bucket on the way out, just in case you land in an area without readily available food sources.

Have a three-day supply of food and water, a change of clothes, water purification pills, and a phone charger in an emergency kit or container.

Don't forget to bring your can opener.

11. Create a Neighbor Support Network

Talk with your family and neighbors about what you would do during a flood and what you've done to prepare.

Talking with people about preparedness will help you think through your plans, share information about alerts and warnings, and offer property protection suggestions.

Everyone is safer when we talk about calamities and help others prepare.

Become a member of your community's warning system.

12. Establish an Out-of-State Contact

One person who is not in the nearby vicinity should be designated as the one with whom your family checks in.

That way, at least one individual who is not in immediate danger will know all of the information.

13. Invest in a Weather Radio That Can Be Used in an Emergency

In terms of disaster readiness, weather alert radios are the clear winner.

A weather alert radio with battery backup power or an emergency crank can keep you informed of severe weather so you can stay safe and protected.

Emergency notifications are provided through the Emergency Alert System (EAS) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio. Listen to EAS, NOAA Weather Radio, or local alerting systems for current emergency information and instructions regarding flooding.

  • Find an online NOAA radio station
  • Search for an NOAA radio app in the Apple Store or Google Play

Flooding is the nation’s most common and most costly natural disaster. But, just because you haven't experienced a flood in the past doesn't mean you won't in the future. Being prepared with a flooding preparedness plan is the way to go. Valley Food Storage is here to help.