Be Prepared: Flood
Flooding typically occurs when prolonged rain falls over several days, when intense rain falls over a short period of time, or when debris buildup causes a river or stream to overflow onto the surrounding area. Flooding can result from the failure of a water control structure, such as a levee or dam.
Flood-prone areas have been identified in 267 cities and Towns and in all of Colorado's 64 counties. Colorado is susceptible to wildfires, which also makes our state susceptible to flooding in heavily eroded burn areas. Familiarize yourself with weather alerts and advisories to help you be prepared.
Explore the information below to learn what you can do to prepare your home for a flood, including how to get flood insurance.
- Get flood insurance if you are in a flood-prone area. Visit FloodSmart.gov to find out what your flood risk is, get cost estimates and find an agent who sells flood insurance. Keep in mind that there is a 30-day waiting period before flood insurance goes into effect, so if you are at risk, get insurance now.
- Get prepared by making sure your family (including pets) has a 72-hour kit.
- Prepare your home. Make sure your sump pump is working, clear debris from gutters and downspouts, anchor any fuel tanks, raise electrical components and move furniture, valuable and important documents to a safe place.
- Keep informed. Watch out for weather that could cause flash floods and make sure that you listen to the news so you are aware of flood danger in your area. Keep updated on road closures in case you need to evacuate.
- Keep informed. Listen to the television or radio or search the internet for information and instructions.
- Secure your home. If you have time, bring in outdoor furniture. Move essential items to an upper floor.
- If instructed to do so, turn off utilities at the main switches or valves.
- Disconnect electrical appliances. Do not touch electrical equipment if you are standing in water.
- Do not walk through moving water. Six inches of moving water can make you fall. 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.
- Be aware that flash flooding can occur. If there is any possibility of a flash flood, move immediately to higher ground. Do not wait for instructions to move.
- Do not attempt to drive through a flooded road. The depth of water is not always obvious. The road bed may be washed out under the water, and you could be stranded or trapped.
- Do not drive around a barricade. Barricades are there for your protection. Turn around and go the other way.
- Be especially cautious driving at night when it is harder to recognize flood dangers.
- If floodwaters rise around your car, abandon the car and move to higher ground if you can do so safely. You and the vehicle can be swept away quickly.
- Do not camp or park your vehicle along streams, rivers or creeks, particularly during threatening conditions.
- Use local alerts and warning systems to get information and expert informed advice as soon as available.
- Avoid moving water.
- Stay away from damaged areas unless your assistance has been specifically requested by police, fire or relief organizations.
- Emergency workers will be assisting people in flooded areas. You can help them by staying off the roads and out of the way.
- Play it safe. Additional flooding or flash floods can occur. Listen for local warnings and information.
- Return home only when authorities indicate it is safe.
- Roads may be still closed because they have been damaged or are covered by water. Barricades have been placed for your protection. If you come upon a barricade or a flooded road, go another way.
- If you must walk or drive in areas that have been flooded, stay on firm ground. Standing water may be electrically charged from underground or downed power lines.
- Flooding may have caused familiar places to change. Floodwaters often erode roads and walkways.
- Be aware of areas where floodwaters have receded. Roads may have weakened and could collapse under the weight of a car.
- Use extreme caution when entering buildings, there may be hidden damage, particularly in foundations.
- Stay out of any building if it is surrounded by floodwaters.
- Avoid floodwaters; water may be contaminated by oil, gasoline or raw sewage.
- Confirm the water supply is safe to drink. Listen for news reports to learn whether your community's water supply has been contaminated by the floodwaters. Remember to carry bottled drinking water and discard any food products that may have come in contact with floodwater.
- Ventilate your home. Open all doors and windows to allow air to circulate and dry out your home. Dehumidify as soon as possible after a flood.
- If salvageable, clean and disinfect everything that got wet. Mud left from floodwaters can contain sewage and chemicals.
- Contact your insurance agent to discuss claims.
- If you hire cleanup or repair contractors, check references and be sure they are qualified to do the job. Be wary of people who drive through neighborhoods offering help in cleaning up or repairing your home as they may not be legitimate.