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Plan & Prepare

Floods: What to do Before a Flood or Flash Flood

Floods: Basic Preparedness

Remember: If it has been raining hard for several hours, or steadily raining for several days, be alert to the possibility of a flood.

Get Started: See NJOEM's Basic Preparedness page for more details on how to build a kit, make plan, and stay informed.

  • Your Kit includes items that will help you stay self-sufficient for up to three days, if needed.
  • Your Plan includes evacuation plans, a place to reunite with loved ones, and an out-of-state contact person.

Know your area's flood risk. If unsure, contact your Local or County Office of Emergency Management, local Planning and Zoning Office, or local American Red Cross chapter. Everyone lives in a flood zone!

Protect important documents and irreplaceable personal objects (such as photographs). Put them in a place where they won't get damaged by flood water. If major flooding is expected, consider putting them in a storage facility.

Stay Informed

  • Be sure you have a phone charger to keep your phone charged if the power goes out.
  • If you have a cell phone or smart phone, you have lots of options for receiving up to date information about emergencies:
    • Social Media.  "Like" the NJOEM on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.
      Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/READYNEWJERSEY 
      Twitter: https:/www.twitter.com/ReadyNJ.
      Be sure to sign up for Twitter Alerts at the NJOEM account set up page so you can receive a direct notification to your phone whenever NJOEM issues an alert.
    • Reverse 9-1-1. Find out if your community has a "reverse 9-1-1" system or if you can opt-in for email updates from municipal officials.
    • Nixle Connect allows the NJ State Police and the NJOEM to send messages to the public by text/SMS, e-mail, and Internet posts. Register to receive messages by sending a text message with your zip code to 888777 (data rates may apply depending on your plan). You can also register on-line at www.nixle.com.
    • NJ Alert is a free, voluntary and confidential emergency alerting system that allows NJOEM officials to send e-mail or text messages to cell phones and other email enabled devices during an emergency. Sign up for NJ Alert by logging on to: www.njalert.gov
  • NOAA weather radios are available in different price ranges.  Check Amazon and eBay to find a radio that matches your budget.
  • Have batteries or another way to keep your radio working if you lose electricity.
  • For more detailed information visit our Staying Informed page

Flood Insurance

Purchase a flood insurance policy. Your homeowner’s insurances does not cover flood damage so buying a policy is one of the most important things you can do to protect your home and family.

Don't wait until a flood is coming to purchase your policy. It normally takes 30 days after a purchase for a flood insurance policy to go into effect.

You can obtain a flood insurance policy through your insurance company or agent. Flood insurance is guaranteed through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), administered by FEMA.

For more information about the NFIP and flood insurance visit FloodSmart.gov, contact your insurance company or agent, or call the NFIP at 1-888-FLOOD29 or TDD# 1-800-427-5593.

Steps to protect your home

FEMA offers a wealth of information on protecting your home, business and other property with the documents at "FEMA: How to Protect Your Property"

Tips include:

  • Take photos or videos of all your important possessions. If your home is damaged in a flood, these documents will help you file a full flood insurance claim.
  • Buy and install sump pumps with back-up power.
  • Have a licensed electrician raise electric components (switches, sockets, circuit breakers and wiring) at least 12 inches above your home's projected flood elevation.
  • For drains, toilets and other sewer connections, install backflow valves or plugs to prevent floodwaters from entering.
  • Anchor fuel tanks. An unanchored tank in your basement can be torn free by flood waters, and the broken supply line can contaminate your basement. An unanchored tank outside can be swept downstream, where it can damage other houses.
  • If your washer and dryer are in the basement, elevate them on masonry or pressure-treated lumber at least 12 inches above the projected flood elevation.
  • Place the furnace and water heater on masonry blocks or concrete at least 12 inches above the projected flood elevation
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New Jersey Office of Emergency Management
P. O. Box 7068
Trenton, NJ 08628


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