Severe thunderstorms, hurricanes and coastal storms produce large amounts of rain which could lead to inland flooding. The Dutchess County Emergency Management Division encourages you to take the following actions to protect yourself and your family:
- Learn your vulnerability to flooding now by determining the elevation of your property. Evaluate your insurance coverage; as construction grows around areas, floodplains change.
- In high flood-prone areas, keep materials on hand like sandbags, plywood, plastic sheeting, plastic garbage bags, lumber, shovels, work boots and gloves.
- Call your local emergency management office to learn how to construct proper protective measures around your home.
- Be aware of streams, drainage channels and areas known to flood, so you or your evacuation routes are not cut off.
- Monitor local radio / television broadcasts or National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio to learn of the storm’s progress and for information from emergency officials.
- Avoid driving into water of unknown depth.
- If your vehicle stalls in a flooded area, abandon it and seek higher ground immediately.
Flood: Know Your Terms
Familiarize yourself with these terms to help identify a flood hazard:
Flood Watch: Flooding is possible. Tune in to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio, commercial radio, or television for information.
Flash Flood Watch: Flash flooding is possible. Be prepared to move to higher ground; listen to NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio, or television for information.
Flood Warning: Flooding is occurring or will occur soon; if advised to evacuate, do so immediately.
Flash Flood Warning: A flash flood is occurring; seek higher ground on foot immediately.
Act Now To Be Prepared
Develop and practice a 'family escape' plan and identify a meeting place if family members become separated.
- Make an itemized list of all valuables including furnishings, clothing and other personal property. Keep the list in a safe place.
- Stockpile emergency supplies of canned food, medicine and first aid supplies and drinking water. Store drinking water in clean, closed containers.
- Plan what to do with your pets.
- Have a portable radio, flashlights, extra batteries and emergency cooking equipment available.
- Keep your automobile fueled. If electric power is cut off, gasoline stations may not be able to pump fuel for several days.
- Have a small disaster supply kit in the trunk of your car.
- Find out how many feet your property is above and below possible flood levels. When predicted flood levels are broadcast, you can determine if you may be flooded.
- Keep materials like sandbags, plywood, plastic sheeting and lumber handy for emergency water-proofing.
During the Flood
- Monitor the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio or your local radio and TV station broadcasts for information.
- If internet is available visit official weather web sites to stay informed National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration or Weather.gov
- If local officials advise evacuation, do so promptly.
- If directed to a specific location, go there.
- Know where the shelters are located.
- Disconnect electrical appliances that cannot be moved. DO NOT touch them if you are wet or standing in water.
- If you are told to shut off water, gas, or electrical services before leaving, do so.
- Secure your home: lock all doors and windows.
After The Flood
- Listen to the radio or TV for instructions from local officials.
- Wait until an area has been declared safe before entering it. Be careful driving, since roads may be damaged and power lines may be down.
- Before entering a building, check for structural damage. Turn off any outside gas lines at the meter or tank. Let the building air out to remove foul odors or escaping gas.
- Upon entering the building, use a battery-powered flashlight. DO NOT use an open flame as a source of light. Gas may be trapped inside.
- When inspecting the building, wear rubber boots and gloves.
- Watch for electrical shorts and live wires before making certain the main power switch is off.
- DO NOT turn on electrical appliances until an electrician has checked the system and appliances.
- Throw out any medicine or food that has had contact with flood waters.
- Test drinking water for potability. Wells should be pumped out and water tested for drinking.
- If the public water system is declared 'unsafe' by health officials, water for drinking and cooking should be boiled vigorously for 10 minutes.
- Shovel out mud with special attention to cleaning heating and plumbing systems.
- Flooded basements should be drained and cleaned as soon as possible. Structural damage can occur if drained too quickly. When surrounding waters have subsided, begin draining the basement in stages, about 1/3 of the water volume each day.
Emergency Supplies Kit
Food and Water
- Bottled water – one gallon per person per day
- Ready-to-eat canned foods – vegetables, fruits, beans, meat, fish, poultry, pasta, soup, juice
- Milk – powdered, canned or shelf-stable brick pack
- High energy foods – peanut butter, jelly, nuts, dried meat (for example, jerky), granola, trail mix
- Staples – sugar, salt, pepper, instant coffee, tea bags, cocoa
- Instant and small children’s needs – baby food, formula, disposable diapers
- Specialty food – for elderly or people on special diets
- Pet food (if needed)
- Meet with your family members and discuss the dangers of possible emergency events including fire, flood, severe weather, hazardous spills, and terrorism.
- Discuss how you and your family will respond to each possible emergency. Know how to contact all family members at all times. Think 24/7 and 365.
- Draw a floor plan of your home. If possible, mark two escape routes from each room.
- Select two places to meet: a spot outside your home for an emergency such as fire, and a place away from your neighborhood in case you cannot return home (a real possibility during the day when most adults are at work and children are at school).
- Identify an out-of-town friend or relative as your “emergency family check-in contact” for everyone to call if the family gets separated. Make sure all family members have the correct phone number. It is often easier to call out-of-town during an emergency than within the affected area.
- Post emergency contact numbers near all telephones. Include local police, fire and health departments, poison control, your children’s schools, doctors, child/senior care providers and insurance agents.
- Have your family learn basic safety and first aid measures.
- Keep family records in a waterproof and fireproof safe.
- Make arrangements for your pets. Most shelters do not allow pets. Prior to an emergency, contact your county or local emergency management office and ask them where you could leave your pet. Have identification, leash and proof of vaccination for all pets. Have current photos of your pets in case they get lost.
For more information on flooding and related topics, visit New York State Department of Health Flood Preparedness page.