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Skip Navigation LinksPennsylvania Department of Health > My Health > Emergency Preparedness > Flooding Preparedness

Get Ready for Flooding Emergencies

Basic Steps To Prepare For Flooding
  • Learn about your community’s emergency plans, warning signals, evacuation routes and emergency shelter locations.
  • Make sure your emergency plan is up to date. Practice a flood evacuation route with your family. Ask a friend or relative from outside of Pennsylvania to be the "family contact" in case your family is separated during a flood. Make sure everyone in your family knows the name, address and phone number of this contact person.
  • Make sure you have an emergency kit stocked with essential supplies – like food, bottled water, extra prescriptions, etc.
  • Place emergency phone numbers next to every phone in your home. Add them to your cell phone’s address book as well.
  • Tell authorities if any of your loved ones have special medical or functional needs. As an example, this includes individuals with mobility issues (anyone using wheelchairs, walkers, etc.) and those who rely on electricity for things like oxygen.
  • Learn about potential hazards in your home and how you should handle them. For instance, be prepared to turn off electrical power, gas and water supplies before you evacuate (leave) your home.
  • Visit to download:
    • Easy-to-use templates to create emergency plans for you and your loved ones
    • Handy checklists of supplies you should stock up on before disasters strike
If You Are Under A Flood Watch Or Warning
  • Make sure your emergency kit (with supplies) is in an easy to move container – like a duffle bag with wheels.
  • Stay tuned to local radio or television stations for important weather updates.
  • Have your immunization records handy or be aware of your last tetanus shot in case you receive a puncture wound/cut or already have a wound that comes in contact with floodwaters.
  • Fill bathtubs, sinks and empty plastic soda bottles with clean water. Sanitize the sinks and tubs first by using bleach. Then rinse and fill with clean water.
  • Bring outdoor items, such as lawn furniture, grills and trash cans inside or tie them down securely.
Emergency Supplies You Will Need
  • Bottled water (each person in your family needs at least one gallon every day). Extra water stored in bathtubs, sinks or other storage containers can also be used for bathing.
  • At least a three-day supply of foods that won’t spoil and a non-electric can opener.
  • Battery-powered radio, flashlight and extra batteries
  • A first aid kit/manual and any prescription medicines you or your loved ones may need.
  • Sleeping bags or extra blankets.
  • Extra baby food and/or prepared formula, diapers and other baby supplies.
  • For pets or service animals – extra food, medicines, bowls, leashes, etc.
  • Disposable cleaning cloths, such as "baby wipes", for the whole family to use.
  • Personal hygiene supplies – like soap, toothpaste, feminine products, etc.
  • Rubber boots, sturdy shoes and waterproof gloves.
Preparing To Evacuate (Leave)
Be prepared for the possibility you may have to evacuate. When a flood watch is issued, you should:
  • Fill your vehicle’s gas tank and make sure your emergency kit is ready.
  • If no vehicle is available, make plans with friends, family or trusted neighbors for transportation.
  • Identify essential, important documents such as medical records, insurance cards, driver’s license, etc. and keep them in waterproof material (like a sandwich bag).
  • Fill your clean water containers.
  • If you have livestock, make sure they are in a safe area. For pets, if you can’t take them with you, find an emergency animal shelter in your area. Do not leave pets behind.
  • Review your emergency plans and supplies, checking to see if any items are missing.
  • Stay tuned to your local radio or television stations for important weather updates.
  • Listen for disaster sirens and warning signals.
If You Are Ordered To Evacuate
NEVER ignore an evacuation order. Authorities will direct you to leave if you are in a low-lying area or live in an area that is at great risk from rising floodwaters.
If a flood warning is issued for your area or you are told by authorities to evacuate the area:
  • Take only essential items with you (like your emergency kit).
  • If you have time, turn off the gas, electricity and water.
  • Disconnect appliances to prevent electrical shock when power is restored.
  • Follow the designated evacuation routes and expect heavy traffic.
  • Never drive or walk across flooded roads.
If You Are Ordered NOT To Evacuate (also called “shelter in place”)
  • Monitor the radio or television for weather updates.
  • Be ready to go to a shelter or a neighbor’s home if your home is damaged or if you are told to leave by emergency responders.