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Storm Preparation

Before the Storm

Safeguard your possessions

Create a personal flood file containing information about all your possessions and keep it in a secure place, such as a safe deposit box or waterproof container. This file should have:

  • A copy of your insurance policies with your agents contact information.
  • A household inventory: For insurance purposes, be sure to keep a written and visual (i.e., videotaped or photographed) record of all major household items and valuables, even those stored in basements, attics or garages. Create files that include serial numbers and store receipts for major appliances and electronics. Have jewelry and artwork appraised. These documents are critically important when filing insurance claims.
  • Copies of all other critical documents, including finance records or receipts of major purchases.

Prepare your house

  • Clear debris from gutters and downspouts.
  • Take care of grading or drainage needs on your property now (go to flood proofing).
  • Check for loose roof tiles or shingles, fix roof leaks.
  • Anchor any fuel tanks.
  • Raise your electrical components (switches, sockets, circuit breakers, and wiring) at least 12 inches above your home's projected flood elevation.
  • Place the furnace, water heater, washer, and dryer on cement blocks at least 12 inches above the projected flood elevation.
  • Move furniture, valuables, and important documents to a safe place.

Develop a family emergency plan

  • Create a safety kit with drinking water, canned food, first aid, blankets, a radio, and a flashlight.
  • Post emergency telephone numbers by the phone and teach your children how to dial 911.
  • Plan and practice a flood evacuation route with your family. Know safe routes from home, work, and school that are on higher ground.
  • Know your children’s school plan.
  • Ask an out-of-state relative or friend to be your emergency family contact.
  • Have a plan to protect your pets.

During the Storm

Protect yourself and your home

Here's what you can do to stay safe during a flood:

  • Avoid unnecessary trips, only travel in emergency situations
  • DO NOT “sightsee” in flooded areas.
  • DO NOT attempt to go around barricades.
  • Heed official instructions. Monitor potential flood hazards on NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards on the Internet at
  • If flooding occurs, go to higher ground and avoid areas subject to flooding.
  • Get out of areas subject to flooding. This includes dips, low spots, canyons, washes.
  • Don’t walk through a flooded area. Just 6 inches of moving water can knock you off your feet.
  • Don’t drive through a flooded area. A car can be carried away by just 2 feet of water.
  • If water rises in your home before you evacuate, go to the top floor, attic, or roof.
  • Listen to a battery-operated radio for the latest storm information.
  • Turn off all utilities at the main power switch and close the main gas valve if advised to do so.
  • If you've come in contact with floodwaters, wash your hands with soap and disinfected water.
  • Don’t forget your pets or livestock.
  • Load pets and livestock who are willing to be loaded first, then those you have difficulty with last.

After the Storm

The Road to Recovery

As soon as floodwater levels have dropped, it's time to start the recovery process. Here's what you can do to begin restoring your home.:

  • If your home has suffered damage, call your insurance agent to file a claim.
  • Check for structural damage before re-entering your home 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.
  • 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 a pine-oil cleanser and bleach, completely dried, and monitored for several days for any fungal growth and odors.

Additional Links

Riverside County Homeowners Guide for Flood Prevention and Response
Riverside County El Niño Preparedness Presentation for Residents
Riverside County El Niño Preparedness Presentation for Residents - en Español
Where To Get Sandbags
After The Storm - en Español
Home Flood Risk