Catastrophic floods are one of Earth’s most common, destructive and life-threatening natural disasters. Regardless of whether you live in a floodplain, a flood can occur at anytime and anywhere. Catastrophic storm systems and heavy rain are the leading causes of a flood. Read our survival guide below to prepare yourself in case of disaster.

Evacuate your home.

Always pack up your belongings and leave if local authorities call for a mandatory evacuation in your area. This is not the time to disregard their warnings and throw a storm party.

Sleep in shifts.

If you live next to a river or any other body of water, it is important for household members to agree to sleeping in shifts. Within a few minutes, rapidly rising water can reach heights of thirty feet or more. If the weather calls for heavy or record rain, sleep with one eye open.

Unplug electric devices.

At the first notice of a flood warning unplug electrical items in your house to avoid injury in case you have to wade through water.

Move to higher ground.

When flooding is imminent, it is important to move belongings, pets and most importantly yourself to higher ground. Be sure to make a responsible judgment call and know when to leave belongings behind.

Don’t walk through moving water.

Avoid walking through floodwater when possible. A few inches of moving water can cause you to slip, fall and be swept away.

Turn around; don’t drown.

If you are in a vehicle when flooding occurs, avoid driving through moving water. A few inches of floodwater can cause your tires to lose traction and eventually submerge your vehicle with you trapped inside.

Avoid floodwaters.

After a flood, avoid walking through stagnant floodwater. It can carry chemicals, oil leaks and sharp objects that pose a risk of serious injuries and are a breeding ground for infectious illness.

Stay safe and dry!