What to do Before a Flood

Basic Preparedness

Remember: If it has been raining hard for several hours, or steadily raining for several days, be alert to the possibility of a flood. 

  • Prepare yourself and your family by creating an Emergency Supply Kit and a Family Disaster Plan. See NJOEM's Basic Preparedness page for more details. 
    • Your Kit includes items that will help you stay self-sufficient for up to three days, if needed.
    • Your Plan includes evacuation plans, a place to reunite with loved ones, and an out-of-state contact person.
  • Know your area's flood risk. If unsure, contact your Local or County Office of Emergency Management, local Planning and Zoning Office, or local American Red Cross chapter. Everyone lives in a flood zone!
  • Protect important documents and irreplaceable personal objects (such as photographs). Put them in a place where they won't get damaged by flood water. If major flooding is expected, consider putting them in a storage facility. 

Flood Insurance

  • Purchase a flood insurance policy. Your homeowner’s insurances does not cover flood damage so buying a policy is one of the most important things you can do to protect your home and family.
  • Don't wait until a flood is coming to purchase your policy. It normally takes 30 days after a purchase for a flood insurance policy to go into effect.
  • You can obtain a flood insurance policy through your insurance company or agent. Flood insurance is guaranteed through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), administered by FEMA.
  • For more information about the NFIP and flood insurance, contact your insurance company or agent, or call the NFIP at 1-888-FLOOD29 or TDD# 1-800-427-5593. 

Steps to protect your home

FEMA offers a wealth of information on protecting your home, business and other property with the documents located on the  "FEMA: Protect Your Property from Flooding" web page.

Tips include:

  • Take photos or videos of all your important possessions. If your home is damaged in a flood, these documents will help you file a full flood insurance claim.
  • Buy and install sump pumps with back-up power.
  • Have a licensed electrician raise electric components (switches, sockets, circuit breakers and wiring) at least 12 inches above your home's projected flood elevation.
  • For drains, toilets and other sewer connections, install backflow valves  or plugs to prevent floodwaters from entering.
  • Anchor fuel tanks. An unanchored tank in your basement can be torn free by flood waters, and the broken supply line can contaminate your basement. An unanchored tank outside can be swept downstream, where it can damage other houses.
  • If your washer and dryer are in the basement, elevate them on masonry or pressure-treated lumber at least 12 inches above the projected flood elevation.

Place the furnace and water heater on masonry blocks or concrete at least 12 inches above the projected flood elevation.