Flood Safety Tips

​​There are many suggestions and pointers you can use to help reduce damage to your property as well as keep your family safe before, during, and after a flood event.

You can find information about flood warnings, road closures, sandbag locations, evacuation routes, and shelter locations on the City’s emergency page. You can locate additional information about road conditions, road closures, and road hazards through Marion County.

Before a flood 

Be prepared before floodwaters hit. Here are some ways to prepare yourself and your family.

  • Prepare an evacuation plan. Develop an evacuation plan among all members of a household that includes a meeting place outside of the house, as well as an escape route out of the floodplain and away from floodwaters.

  • Safeguard your possessions. Create a personal flood file containing information about all of your possessions and keep it in a safe place, such as a safe deposit box or waterproof container. This file should contain a copy of your insurance policies, a household inventory, and copies of all other critical documents.

  • Prepare your home. There are some simple steps you can take to reduce the impact of floodwater on your home and belongings.

  • Build an emergency supply kit. Prepare an emergency supply kit which should include food, bottled water, first aid supplies, medicines, and a battery-operated radio.

During a flood

 Keep safe during a flood by following these tips.

  • Listen to your radio or TV for emergency information. Evacuate immediately if told to do so.

  • Do not walk through flowing water. Drowning is the number one cause of flood deaths, mostly during flash floods. Currents can be deceptive; six inches of moving water can knock you off your feet. If you walk in standing water, use a pole or stick to ensure that the ground is still there.

  • Do not drive through a flooded area. More people drown in their cars than anywhere else. Do not drive around road barriers; the road or bridge may be washed out.

  • Stay away from power lines and electrical wires. The number two flood killer after drowning is electrocution. Electrical current can travel through water. Report downed power lines to your electric utility provider.

  • Shut off gas and electricity, and move valuable contents upstairs. Be prepared in advance with a detailed checklist because warning of an impending flood may provide little time for preparation prior to evacuation.

  • Look out for animals, especially snakes. Small animals that have been flooded out of their homes may seek shelter in yours. Use a pole or stick to poke and turn things over and scare away small animals.

  • Look before you step. After a flood, the ground and floors are covered with debris including broken bottles and nails. Floors and stairs that have been covered with mud can be very slippery.

  • Be alert for gas leaks. Use a flashlight to inspect for damage. Do not smoke or use candles, lanterns, or open flames unless you know that the gas has been turned off and the area has been ventilated.

After a flood

What do you do after your home has been flooded? Below are some tips from the National Flood Insurance Program.

  • Check for damage. Check for structural damage before re-entering your home. If you suspect damage to water, gas, electric, or sewer lines, contact authorities.

  • Remove wet items. Immediately remove wet carpeting, furniture, and bedding. Any item holding moisture can develop mold within 24 to 48 hours. Clean and disinfect everything touched by floodwaters. Get cleanup tips and more from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention.

  • Plan before you repair. The rebuilding decisions you make now to lower your risk and insurance costs can result in big benefits over the long term. More information is available if you plan to repair, build, or develop in the floodplain.

  • File your flood claim. To file a claim, you will need your insurance company's name, your policy number, and a number where you can be reached. Take photos of any water in the house and anything damaged in your home. Make a detailed list of all damaged or lost items.

More flood safety resources available to you include a publication by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) on repairing a flooded home as well as the Red Cross flood safety checklist.

High water watch

You can monitor stream levels and rainfall in near real-time from a number of sites across the city and throughout the Mill Creek Watershed. This data is available through the Mid-Willamette Valley High Water Watch and provides regional National Weather Service alerts and forecasts, Doppler weather radar imaging, and additional links on flood preparation. You can use this data and information to learn about the ways you can protect your family and property prior to a flood event.

Contact us

Public Works Department
Monday–Friday
8:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
555 Liberty ST SE RM 325
Salem OR 97301
Phone: 
  
Phone Number
  
  
  
503‑588‑6256
Tree Trimming or Removal PermitCity Planners can provide information about protection of vegetation and trees along waterways and tree removal.
  
503‑588‑6211
Emergency and Disaster PreparednessFor assistance in an emergency, call 911. Contact us to learn more about preparing for a disaster or for information on the City's emergency management program.
  
503‑588‑6052
Salem Public Library WebsiteThe library collection contains floodplain publications and other floodplain-related information.
  
503‑588‑6333
Call dispatch if you discover problems with a street or your water / sewer service (i.e. broken pipe, pothole, environmental spill, clogged street drain).
  
503‑588‑6211
Contact Development Services to speak with a Floodplain Manager or if you have questions about the interactive floodplain map.
  
503-588-6333
Mid Willamette Valley High Water WatchView current stream levels and rainfall data in near real-time from a number of sites across the City.
  
1‑888‑379‑9531
Floodsmart WebsiteThe Floodsmart website provides information about the National Flood Insurance Program, answers questions about flood insurance, and provides assistance to find local insurance agents that offer flood insurance.
  
503‑378‑3805
Oregon Division of State Lands WebsiteDSL reviews and issues removal/fill permits for development activities in waterways and wetlands.
  
503‑808‑4510
USACE Flood Risk Management WebsiteTo find out more information about the USACE Flood Risk Management Program.