Dealing with floods, tornadoes

Staff Reports

Spring Flood Risk: Are You Ready?

Snowmelt may not be a significant concern this year, but severe storms and heavy spring rainfall could still cause flooding in the months ahead. Now is the time to prepare.

  • Ensure you’re flood insured. A flood insurance policy could protect you from the devastating out-of-pocket expenses caused by flooding. Don’t wait until it’s too late. A policy takes 30 days to go into effect from application and payment. A typical homeowner’s insurance policy does not cover floods.
  • Conduct a household inventory. Be sure to keep a record of all major household items and valuables. These documents are important when filing insurance claims. For help in conducting a home inventory, visit
  • Protect important financial documents. Store copies of irreplaceable documents (such as birth certificates, passports, etc.) in a safe, dry place. Keep originals in a safe deposit box.
  • Build an emergency supply kit. Food, bottled water, first aid supplies, medicines, and a battery-operated radio should be ready to go when you are. Visit for a complete disaster supply checklist.
  • Plan for evacuation. Plan and practice a flood evacuation route. Ask someone out of state to be your “family contact” in an emergency, and make sure everyone in your family knows the contact’s address and phone number.

The spring season brings a heightened flood risk throughout our area in the coming months,” said FEMA Acting Regional Administrator Janet M. Odeshoo. “Preparing now will help to ensure that you’re protected against the costly damage floodwaters can cause.”

Visit or call 1-800-427-2419 to learn how to prepare for floods, how to purchase a flood insurance policy and the benefits of protecting your home or property investment against flooding. You can also contact your insurance agent for more information.

FEMA’s mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.

Tornado and Hail Safety Tips – Before During and After the Storm from the Nonprofit FLASH

With severe weather sweeping across the South, the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH)® offers the following tornado and hail safety tips to help families stay safe before, during, and after a storm.

Tornado Safety Tips


  • Have a family tornado plan and know where you can safely take shelter.
  • Closely monitor a NOAA Weather Radio or mobile alerting App.


  • Take refuge in a tested and approved storm shelter, safe room, or a community shelter labeled as an official tornado shelter. Community shelters may include stores, malls, churches, even airports.

If no shelter is available:

Are you indoors? Go to the lowest floor, to a small, central, interior room, under a stairwell, or to an interior hallway with no windows. Crouch down as low as possible to the floor, face down, and cover your head with your arms. Cover yourself with a blanket, mattress, helmet, or other thick covering. Wear footwear with thick soles to your safe location.

Are you in a mobile home? Get out. Even if your home is tied down, it is not as safe as a sturdy building. Go to a nearby permanent structure. Do not seek shelter under an overpass, bridge, or in a drainage ditch. If you cannot safely exit your vehicle, park it out of traffic lanes. Stay in your vehicle with your seatbelt on. Put your head below the windows and protect it with your arms and a blanket, coat, or other cushion.

Are you outdoors? Shelter in a sturdy building. If no shelter is available, lie face-down on low ground protecting the back of your head with your arms.


  • Keep your family together in a safe location and wait for emergency personnel to arrive.
  • Stay away from power lines, downed trees, and puddles that could hide live wires.
  • Watch your step to avoid sharp objects.
  • Stay out of heavily damaged structures, as they may collapse.
  • Do not use matches or lighters in case of leaking natural gas or fuel tanks.
  • Listen to your radio for information and instructions.

Remember to:

  • Install a tornado safe room or storm shelter built to FEMA 320 guidelines or the ICC/NSSA 500 standard. Always use a licensed contractor to install a safe room within, adjacent to, or outside of your home.
  • View this video playlist to find out Which Tornado Safe Room is Right for You.

Hail Storm Safety Tips


  • When hail is forecast, close your drapes, blinds or window shades to prevent potential injury from broken glass blowing inside.


  • Do not try to go outside to protect your property during a storm. Stay indoors until the storm has passed.
  • Stay away from skylights, windows, and doors.


  • Verify that you can safely move around outside. Avoid any broken or downed branches and power lines.
  • Check the trees, shrubs, and plants around your house. If they are stripped of their foliage, there is a possibility your roof is damaged. Dented patio covers, screens or soft aluminum roof vents could also indicate roof damage.
  • Cover any broken windows and holes in your roof to prevent water intrusion following hail damage.


The nonprofit Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH) is the country’s leading consumer advocate for strengthening homes and safeguarding families from natural and manmade disasters. The FLASH partnership includes more than 120 innovative and diverse organizations that share a vision of making America a more disaster-resilient nation including: BASF, FEMA, Florida Division of Emergency Management, The Home Depot, Huber Engineered Woods, International Code Council, Kohler Generators, National Weather Service, Portland Cement Association, Simpson Strong-Tie, State Farm, and USAA. In 2008, FLASH and Disney opened the interactive weather experience StormStruck: A Tale of Two Homes in Lake Buena Vista, FL. Learn more about FLASH and access free consumer resources by visiting, calling toll-free 877-221- SAFE (7233), following @federalalliance on Twitter, , and the FLASH blog – Protect Your Home in a FLASH.

Staff Reports