Stay Safe in a Flood

Stay Safe in a Flood

rescue personnel at flood scene

Vermont’s rivers, streams and lakes can be harmful to our health and safety when they flood. 

Flood Watch means a flood is possible in your area.
Flood Warning means a flood is about to happen or is happening in your area.

Learn about the steps you can take to stay safe before, during and after a flood.


Before & After the Flood fact sheet in Arabic | Burmese | Chinese | English | French | Nepali | Russian | Serbo-Croatian | Somali | Spanish | Swahili | Vietnamese

Prepare for a Flood
  • Prepare a family emergency kit. Check out a list of personal items from the CDC for tips on what to include.
  • Keep your cell phone charged.
  • Move important things to the upper floors of your home.
  • Bring outdoor equipment like trash cans or lawn furniture inside or tie them down securely.
  • Fill bathtubs, sinks and jugs with clean water. This water can be used for drinking, washing and cleaning the toilet.
  • Inform local authorities about any special needs that could affect someone’s well-being in a flood, for example, a person confined to bed, or someone with a disability that affects mobility.
  • Gather your emergency supplies and stay tuned to local radio or television station for updates.
Stay Safe During a Flood

In a Car

  • Do not drive around barriers.
  • Do not use roads that are marked as closed. Follow detours.
  • Listen to public safety officials.
  • Do not drive through flood water. Even water that is not deep can float a car.
  • If your car stops in water, get out of the car and move to higher ground.
  • If possible, avoid driving at night when it is hard to see.

At Home

  • If there is water coming near your house, don’t wait – get out and move to higher ground.
  • If you need to find a shelter, dial 2-1-1 on your phone to find Vermont resources near you.
  • If you touch flood water, wash your hands with soap and clean hot water.
  • Do not eat or drink anything that has touched flood water.

Outside

  • Stay away from flood water. Water can be very deep and can rise quickly.
  • Do not walk through flood water. Even water that is not deep can move quickly and be dangerous.
  • Stay away from fallen electricity lines. Electricity can travel through water and hurt or kill you.
  • Do not go into a home that is flooded unless you are sure that the power has been turned off.
Prepare to Evacuate
  • Know where your electrical breaker box is and turn off electrical power when there is standing water, fallen power lines, or before you evacuate.
  • Know where your gas and water shutoff valves are and turn off gas and water before you evacuate.
  • Fill your vehicle’s gas tank and make sure the emergency kit for your car is ready.
  • Gather essential documents like medical records, insurance cards and ID cards and put in a waterproof bag or container to carry with you during evacuation.
  • If you have pets, identify a shelter that will let you bring them with you.
  • Tune into the radio or television for weather updates.
  • Listen for disaster sirens and warning signals.
  • Put livestock in a safe area.
  • Turn the thermostat on refrigerators and freezers to the coldest temperature possible to help protect your food from spoiling.