Reducing Flood Damages

Before a Flood
  • Do not dump or throw anything into ditches, streams, or drainage inlets (please do your part to keep the banks clear of brush and debris).
  • Notify the Maintenance Division of the Public Works Department if you see debris in these areas.
  • Check with the Building Division of the Department of Conservation and Development before building, altering, regrading, or placing fill on your property (a permit may be needed).
  • Notify the Building Division of the Department of Conservation and Development of non-permitted building or grading.
  • Homeowner's insurance does not cover damages from floods.
  • The County participates in the National Flood Insurance Program. You can purchase a separate flood insurance policy backed by the Federal Government.
  • Safeguard your possessions, prepare your house, and develop a family emergency plan.
  • If a flood is suspected, shut off your gas and electricity, and move valuables to the highest locations.
During a Flood
  • The number one cause of flood deaths is drowning, and the second leading cause of death during a flood is electrocution. Protect yourself and your home; stay safe during a flood.
  • In standing water, make sure the ground in front of you has not eroded away. Go to higher ground and avoid areas subject to flooding.
  • Do not attempt to walk across flowing water or drive through flooded roadways.
  • If water rises in your home before you evacuate, go to the top floor, attic, or roof.
  • Do not drive around road barriers--water only two feet deep can carry your car away.
  • Electrical currents can travel through water--stay away from power lines and wires.
  • Report downed power lines to Pacific Gas and Electric, or police service provider.
  • Listen to a battery-operated radio for the latest storm operation.
  • Turn off all utilities at the main power switch and close the main gas valve if advised to do so.
  • Some appliances keep electrical charges even after they have been unplugged.
  • Do not use appliances or motors that have gotten wet.
  • If you come in contact with floodwaters, wash your hands with soap and disinfected water.
After a Flood
  • If your home has suffered damage, call your insurance agent if you have flood insurance.
  • Check for structural damage before re-entering your building to avoid being trapped in a building collapse.
  • Take photos of any floodwater in your home and save any damaged personal property.
  • Make a list of damaged or lost items and include their purchase date and value with receipts, and place with the inventory you took prior to the flood. Some damaged items may require disposal, so keep photographs of these items.
  • Be aware of small animals that have been flooded out of their homes--they may try to seek shelter in yours.
  • The ground and floors may be slippery and covered in debris, including broken bottles and nails.
  • Be alert for gas leaks. Do not smoke or use candles, lanterns, or open flames unless you know the gas has been turned off and the area has been ventilated.
  • Keep power off until an electrician has inspected your system for safety.
  • Boil water for drinking and food preparation until authorities tell you that your water supply is safe.
  • Prevent mold by removing wet contents immediately.
  • Wear gloves and boots to clean and disinfect. Wet items should be cleaned with pine oil cleaner and bleached, completely dried, and monitored for several days for any fungal growth and odors.
Estimate the general cost of flood damages by using the NFIP's "The Cost of Flooding" interactive tool.

Visit our Flood Preparedness webpage, Ready.gov, and FloodSmart.gov for more information.