Be Prepared For a Flood

El Niño is expected to bring heavy rainfall this year, which could lead to devastating flooding, especially in areas affected by prolonged drought and recent wildfires. California residents should take steps now to protect their homes, prepare emergency kits and develop emergency response plans. Officials have also been urging Californians to purchase flood insurance, especially those living in high-risk areas. There is a 30-day waiting period before the insurance goes into effect. Constituents should visit to assess their flood risk, purchase insurance and view tips to prepare for floods.

Insure Your Home

Don’t get caught unprepared this winter. Visit to assess your area’s flood risk and get an insurance estimate. Remember: there is a 30-day waiting period before your coverage goes into effect so don’t wait until it’s too late.

Educate Yourself

After getting flood insurance, there are several things you can do to minimize losses in your home and ensure your family's safety.

1. Safeguard your possessions.

Create a personal flood file containing information about all your possessions and keep it in a secure place, such as a safe deposit box or waterproof container. This file should have:

  • A copy of your insurance policies with your agents contact information.
  • A household inventory: For insurance purposes, be sure to keep a written and visual (i.e., videotaped or photographed) record of all major household items and valuables, even those stored in basements, attics or garages. Create files that include serial numbers and store receipts for major appliances and electronics. Have jewelry and artwork appraised. These documents are critically important when filing insurance claims. For more information visit
  • Copies of all other critical documents, including finance records or receipts of major purchases.

2. Prepare your house.

  • First make sure your sump pump is working and then install a battery-operated backup, in case of a power failure. Installing a water alarm will also let you know if water is accumulating in your basement.
  • Clear debris from gutters and downspouts.
  • Anchor any fuel tanks.
  • Raise your electrical components (switches, sockets, circuit breakers, and wiring) at least 12 inches above your home's projected flood elevation.
  • Place the furnace, water heater, washer, and dryer on cement blocks at least 12 inches above the projected flood elevation.
  • Move furniture, valuables, and important documents to a safe place.

3. Develop a family emergency plan.

  • Create a safety kit with drinking water, canned food, first aid, blankets, a radio, and a flashlight.
  • Post emergency telephone numbers by the phone and teach your children how to dial 911.
  • Plan and practice a flood evacuation route with your family. Know safe routes from home, work, and school that are on higher ground.
  • Ask an out-of-state relative or friend to be your emergency family contact.
  • Have a plan to protect your pets.

More information is available at or by calling the National Flood Insurance Program toll-free at 1-888-379-9531.

Local Resources

Emergency Resources

Santa Clara County

Emergency Services
55 West Younger Avenue, Suite 450, San Jose, CA 95110
Phone: (408) 299-3751 or (408) 808-7800
Fax: (408) 294-4851

Santa Clara Valley Water District
5750 Almaden Expressway, San Jose, CA 95118
Phone: (408) 630-2084 (Day)
Fax: (408) 267-7442 (Day)

55 West Younger Avenue, 4th Floor, San Jose, CA 95110
Phone: (408) 808-4900 (Day)
Emergency: (408) 808-4400 (24 Hours)
Fax: (408) 283-0562

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