Personal safety is the most important consideration during a flood. Since floodwaters can rise very rapidly, you should be prepared to evacuate before the water level reaches your property.


Find out if you live in a flood-prone area from your local floodplain manager. Ask if your property is within a special flood-hazard  area.

Learn flood warning signs and your community alerts signals.

If you live in a frequently flooded area, stockpile emergency building materials such as plywood, plastic sheeting, lumber, nails, hammer and saw, shovels and sandbags.

Have check valves installed in sewer traps in your home and/  or business to prevent floodwaters from backing up in sewer drains. As a last resort, have large corks or stoppers to use to plug showers, tubs and basins.

Plan and practice an evacuation route. Contact the Ventura County Office of Emergency Services for a copy of the community flood evacuation plan. If you live in a flash flood area, have several alternative evacuation routes.

Have a disaster supply kit on hand:

  • Flashlights and extra batteries
  • Portable, battery-operated (or hand-crank) radio and extra batteries
  • First aid kit and manual
  • Emergency food and water
  • Non-electric can opener
  • Essential medicines
  • Cash and credit cards
  • Sturdy shoes

Develop an emergency communication plan in case family members are separated from one another during floods. Ask an out-of-town relative or friend to serve as the family contact. After a disaster it’s often easier to call long distance than locally. Make sure everyone in the family knows the name, address and phone number of the contact person.

Teach all family members how to turn off gas, electricity and water. Teach children how to call for emergency help and which radio station to turn to for emergency information.

Keep your insurance policies in a safe place. Ask your insurance agent about flood insurance or call 1-800-720-1090 for information. Remember that there is a 30-day waiting period before a policy  is in effect.


Listen to a battery-operated radio for the latest storm information.

Fill bathtubs, sink and jugs with clean water, in case the local water supply becomes contaminated. You can sanitize these storage containers by first rinsing with bleach.

Bring outdoor belongings, such as lawn furniture, indoors or tie them down securely.

Move valuable papers and household possessions to upper floors or to safe ground, if time permits.

If you are instructed to do so by local authorities, turn off all utilities at the main switch and close the main gas valve.

Be prepared to evacuate.


If Indoors

Turn on battery-operated radio or television to get the latest information.

Get your disaster supply kit.

If you’re caught in the house by suddenly rising waters, move to the second floor and, if necessary, to the roof. Take warm clothing, a flashlight, and portable radio with you. Then wait for help…don’t try to swim to safety. Rescue teams will be looking for you in/at the house.

Turn off all utilities at the main power switch and close the main gas valve if evacuation appears necessary. Do not touch any electrical equipment unless it is in a dry area and you are standing on a piece of dry wood while wearing rubber gloves and rubber- soled boots or shoes.

If advised to evacuate, do so immediately. Evacuation is easier and safer before floodwaters become too deep. Take your pet and their food and medicines.

Follow recommended evacuation routes. Shortcuts may be blocked.

If Outdoors

Climb to high ground and stay there.

Avoid walking through any floodwaters. Even six inches of swiftly moving water can sweep you off your feet.

If Evacuated

If it is safe to evacuate by car, you should consider the following:

Stock your car with nonperishable foods (like canned goods), a plastic container of water, blankets, first aid kit, flashlights, dry clothing and any special medication needed by your family.

Do not drive where water is over the road— turn around and go another way.

If your car stalls in a flooded area, abandon it immediately and climb to higher ground.  Floodwaters can rise rapidly and sweep a car and its occupants away. Many deaths have resulted from attempts to move stalled vehicles.