As heavy rains and melting snow floods the rivers in Washington, causing mudslides and highway closures, Governor Jay Inslee has declared a state of emergency. It is important to take precautions against the damage a flood can wreak on your home.

Before the Flood:

  • Know your area's risk for flooding, and find out the safest area near to you.
  • If you live in a high-risk flood area, consider buying flood insurance. Homeowner's insurance may not offer extensive enough coverage in the event of a flood.
  • Make an emergency flood plan. If you have children, make sure they know and understand the plan.

If a Flood Watch is issued, it is important to begin preparing for flood conditions:

  • Keep your radio or television on for updates on potential flooding
  • Know where to go. In the event of a flood, it may be necessary to get to the highest possible ground on foot. Know where this is.
  • Build your emergency preparedness kit. At the very least, this should include first-aid supplies, a flashlight, batteries, and cash.
  • Disconnect all electrical appliances. Do not touch electrical devices if you are standing in water.
  • If you are instructed to, turn off your gas and electricity at the main valve or switch.

If there is a Flood Warning, it is time for you to take action:

  • Move immediately to higher ground, and stay there.
  • Evacuate if you are directed to do so. Your possessions are not worth as much as your safety.
  • Never drive through a flood. It only takes 2 feet of water to sweep your vehicle away.

After a flood, take the following precautions:

  • Only return home once authorities have declared it safe to do so.
  • Be aware of road conditions, floods often erode streets and sidewalks.
  • Avoid standing water. It may still be electrically charged by downed or underground power lines.
  • For insurance purposes, photograph flood damage to your property.

Living in Washington, you can always be assured that there is more rain on the way. The only way to prevent property damage and ensure your safety is to be prepared. Make a plan, and stick to it. Stay safe.