Tips - Before a Flood

Plan Ahead

  • Know if you are in a flood-prone area. For information, call the Snohomish County Department of Planning and Development Services at 425-388-3311.
  • See FEMA's publication. Avoiding Flood Damage: A Checklist for Homeowners.
  • Ask your insurance agent how you can buy flood insurance to protect your property. Homeowners' insurance does not cover flood loss, but most homeowners' insurance agents also sell flood insurance. Even if your home is located in an area not mapped as a floodplain, or even if your home has never been flooded, you can purchase flood insurance.
  • Find out how to flood-proof your home. Call Snohomish County Planning and Development Services, 425-388-3311, or the Federal Emergency Management Agency, 800-480-2520, for information.
  • Observe where erosion and water damage are likely to occur on your property, and keep these areas free of debris.
  • Put together a basic emergency supply kit in an easy-to-grab duffle bag or back pack. Include water and food for your family and pets, a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) weather portable radio, flashlight, first aid kit, whistle to signal for help, dust mask, pliers to turn off utilities, cell phone with chargers, and cash. See additional suggestions.
  • Before a flood, move all chemicals (pesticides, fertilizers, etc.) and store them in waterproof containers above flood levels.
  • Buy sand and sandbags ahead of time and learn how to use them. You can start by calling the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at 206-764-3406 or by accessing the following resources:
  • Talk to neighbors and share information on preparedness and previous experiences. Remember, the next flood can always be bigger.
  • Update and review flood procedures with your family and co-workers each year.
  • Document your belongings for insurance purposes if you live in a flood prone area. Consider taking photos of high-value items or doing a video walkthrough of your home to show its contents. Keep important records in a waterproof container or bank deposit box.

Be Ready to Act Quickly

  • Save current contact numbers for friends, family and emergency services in your cell phone. Make sure everyone in your family has these emergency phone numbers and knows when to call them.
  • Establish meeting places in case family members are separated by flood waters.
  • Determine the safest route from your home or business to high ground.
  • Make sure everyone knows how and when to turn off gas, electricity and water lines.
  • Make arrangements for housing your family and pets in the event you need to evacuate..
  • Have a plan for evacuating livestock to higher ground.
  • Keep your vehicle's gas tank full during flood season.
  • Move recreational vehicles (RVs) to higher ground.

Minimize Flood Damage

  • Secure anything that might float or move during a flood.
  • Store valuables at higher elevations (second story, if possible).
  • Store household chemicals above flood levels.
  • Ensure that underground and above ground storage tanks are fully sealed and secure.
  • Close storm shutters and sandbag doorways.
  • Have check valves installed in building sewer traps to prevent flood waters from backing up into sewer drains.

Helpful Numbers

Disaster Supply KitSnohomish County Department of Emergency Management (DEM): 425-423-7635

Floodplain MapsSnohomish County Planning and Development Services: 425-388-3311
Flood Proofing ProtectionFederal Emergency Management Agency Clearinghouse: 800-480-2520
Snohomish County Planning and Development Services: 425-388-3311
Flood InsuranceFederal Emergency Management Agency: 800-611-6122
Roads Commonly Flooded or ClosedSnohomish County Road Maintenance: 425-388-3411, ext. 7500 or 800-562-4367, ext. 7500
General Information: Flood Warning SystemSnohomish County DEM: 425-388-5060
Purchase Sand BagsCenex Co-Op: 425-259-5571
Everett / Snohomish Co-Op: 360-568-2104
Fisher Bag of Seattle: 206-623-1966, Snohomish: 866-550-2247
DEM (for after-hours numbers of the above): 425-423-7635
Purchase SandRinker Materials, Everett: 425-355-2113
Builders Sand, Snohomish: 360-668-2303 or 425-743-3333
Riverside Sand and Gravel, Snohomish: 425-334-5003
DEM (for after-hours numbers of the above): 425-423-7635
Use Sand BagsU.S. Army Corps of Engineers: 206-764-3406
Urban Flood and Drainage Prevention AssistanceSnohomish County Surface Water Management: 425-388-6467