Seattle Public Utilities Mami Hara, General Manager/CEO

After the Storm

What to do right after storms and/or flooding.

Carefully re-enter your home if you were flooded and/or evacuated

  • Stay out of any building if flood waters remain around the building. Flood waters often undermine foundations and cause sinking. Floors can crack or break, and buildings can collapse.
  • If you turned off your utilities, check with electricity, gas and water authorities to determine whether supplies to your area have been interrupted and are safe to be turned on by you.
  • Indoors or out, under flooded or damaged conditions, treat every electrical item with the greatest respect. Every source of electricity can be extremely dangerous under flood conditions.
  • Move around slowly and carry a flashlight as you inspect for damage. Watch for loose floor boards, holes in the floor, protruding nails, and sagging ceiling areas that may be ready to fall. Check for gas leaks.
  • Discard all foods and drinking water exposed to flood water except those in sealed (air-tight) containers.
  • Avoid using the toilets and water faucets until you have checked for sewage and water line damage. If you suspect damage, call a plumber.
  • Clean up. The walls, floors, closets, shelves, contents and any other flooded parts of your home should be thoroughly washed and disinfected.

Help a neighbor

Everyone has neighbors who may require special assistance--infants, elderly people, and people with disabilities. Elderly people and people with disabilities may require additional assistance.

Pump out flooded basements gradually

To avoid structural damage, only pump out about one-third of the water per day. If the water is pumped completely in a short period of time, pressure from water-saturated soil on the outside could cause basement walls to collapse.

Document any damages

Take photos of any water in the house and save damaged personal property. Use your time/date stamp.