How to Prepare Your Family and Your Home for Flooding and Severe Weather

flash flood

We all knew we needed rain, but who knew we would experience an ongoing atmospheric river event here in the Bay Area? Here’s what to do as we continue to experience relentless rainfall this winter. 

Create a family emergency plan

Get your entire family on the same page – that includes letting extended family know what your plan is and who is on your emergency contact list outside of your home area. 

  1. Designate a meeting place for the entire family, apart from your home, but in your neighborhood and away from potential hazards like the ocean, creeks or rivers.
  2. Also designate a home meeting place. Have all family members agree to a meeting place close to, but outside of your home – the corner, the end of your driveway, the entrance to your community, etc.
  3. Choose a friend or relative outside of your area to contact if you are separated from your family and to help in case of emergency.
  4. Let this emergency contact know what your meeting places are.
  5. Write all of these places and your emergency contacts down and make sure they are in everyone’s cell phone.
  6. Keep a list of this plan on your refrigerator or somewhere else visible to the entire family.
  7. Build your emergency preparedness kit for your home and vehicles with our checklists.


Prepare your home as best you can

If you haven’t already, do a yard and home check and remove potential hazards in floods and strong winds.

  1. Lightweight patio furniture, umbrellas and toys should all be secured or stored. 
  2. Check your trees and cut any branches that could be broken by high winds.
  3. Clear your rain gutters and downspouts to avoid extra flooding.
  4. Know where your gas and water shut off valves are.
  5. Have the tools handy to shut them off – they should be with your home emergency supply kit. 

Online resources to know if your home is in a flood area

Check whether your house or business is in a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) and learn how to interpret FEMA flood maps.

Search Santa Clara Valley Water to see if your home is in a flood zone. 

Know the difference between a weather watch and a weather warning

A weather watch covers a broad region like the Bay Area, while a warning is issued for smaller areas and is more specific to your home and family. 

If there are flood warnings, stay home unless it’s an emergency. 

Be safe.