Dos and Don’ts During Flood Catastrophes

Dos and don’ts during flood catastrophes are secondary to simply remaining calm. Without a clear head, the many dangers introduced by rising waters can cause panic, which can make things worse. Careful observances of the threats before it’s too late may turn future victims into survivors.


Dos and don’ts during flood catastrophes are secondary to simply remaining calm

  • Turn off gas valves fed to appliances, water valves and the electricity on the main fuse box. Be aware that surges of electricity during gas leaks can cause violent ignitions.
  • Unplug all electrical items and store them away from floodwaters.
  • Move all inhabitants and pets to safe locations, ideally in pet carriers.
  • If safely possible, move rugs, furniture and any sentimental or otherwise valuable possessions to a drier location. Big appliances may be raised with bricks.
  • Sop up and extract intruding waters when possible.
  • To prevent sewage backups, put sandbags in the toilet and obstructions on drain holes.
  • Bathe and wash items with clean, preferably safely contained water. Drink only clean water, preferably bottled water. If left without options, boil water for ten minutes before using and drinking.
  • Enhance airflows to enhance drying. Bringing the heat down to around 65℉ impedes bacterial growth.
  • Wearing mosquito nets can combat the heightened threat of mosquito-borne diseases.
  • Look out for snakes, which often go inside flooded homes.
  • If trapped, try to contact 911 and stay by a window to attempt to signal someone outside.
  • Use a radio and local media for news updates.
  • Help neighbors when possible but otherwise avoid walking through floodwaters, as something like a manhole opened due to water pressure could make a situation worse.
  • Sturdy work boots and gloves can help with submerged and dangerous debris. The most common injury during a flood is cut feet.
  • Beware of and watch for structural damages, such as falling walls and ceilings. Piercing small holes in sagging ceilings can strategically drain them and prevent collapses.
  • Strong ropes and a well equipped First Aid Kit can greatly enhance rescue efforts.

flooded rural road with fence lines


  • Don’t eat or drink anything exposed to the likely contaminated floodwaters.
  • Don’t use potentially contaminated water for washing or food preparations.
  • Don’t let wet dyes from clothes, books, etc. damage other items and carpets.
  • Watch out for and don’t approach downed power lines.
  • Don’t drive through floodwaters. If stuck, exit the car and move to higher ground.
  • Don’t use open flames in the presence of gas, propane or natural gas. Use flashlights.
  • Both floating and sinking littered debris and refuse can both complicate rescue efforts and plug outgoing flows.
  • Don’t be careless in a flooded area at night when it’s much harder to see standing and flowing water. Two feet of moving water is deep enough to sweep away a vehicle and six inches can sweep away an adult.
  • Touching or approaching wet, plugged-in electronics can lead to electrocution.
  • Don’t leave doors and windows unlocked when leaving your property due to high incidences of looting.

Rushing waters, risks of electrocution, gas explosions, drowning, and the threats of pests, pestilence, water damages, mold damages and looting all accompany floods. Being tactful can avert or minimize the physical threats and the damages.