Be Winter Wise

Did You Know?

Most homeowners' insurance policies do not offer protection against flood losses.  For information about flood insurance, call your local insurance agent, or call the National Flood Insurance Program at (888) 379-9531.​

The weather system currently passing over California is bringing plenty of rain, slick streets, and high water levels in rivers and creeks prompting flood preparations.

Get the latest storm info and how it may impact your area by visiting the National Weather Service HERE.

More information may also be found by visiting the Department of Water Resources website HERE.

This page provides some excellent tips and resources to help you on your way to being "Winter Wise". Though it's often difficult to leave the warmth behind, we have to look forward and get ready for what's to come.

Before the Storm

  • Keep copies of insurance policies, documents and other valuables in a safe-deposit box.
  • Check your homeowners or renters insurance for flood insurance coverage--if none exists, purchase.
  • Store supplies at work, home and car in handy locations:
  • First aid kit and essential medicines.
  • Food (packaged, dried, canned, or food for special diets.)
  • Non-electric can opener.
  • Keep some cash on hand. ATM machines may not be working.
  • Portable radio, flashlights and extra batteries (stored in water-tight plastic bag.)
  • Store drinking water in closed, clean containers in case water service is interrupted. Allow one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days.
  • Keep your car fueled. If electric power is cut off, filling stations may not be able to operate.
  • Know safe routes from your home or office to high, safe ground.
  • Keep sandbags, plywood, plastic sheeting, lumber and other emergency building materials handy for waterproofing.

During the Storm

  • flooding.jpgAvoid areas that are subject to sudden flooding.
  • Do not try to cross a flowing stream where water is above your knees. Even water as low as 6 inches deep may cause you to be swept away by strong currents.
  • Do not try to drive over a flooded road. This may cause you to be both stranded and trapped.
  • If your car stalls, abandon it IMMEDIATELY and seek higher ground. Many deaths have resulted from attempts to move stalled vehicles.
  • Do not sightsee in flooded areas. Do not try to enter areas blocked off by local authorities.
  • Avoid unnecessary trips. If you must travel during the storm, dress in warm, loose layers of clothing. Advise others of your destination.
  • Use the telephone ONLY for emergency needs or to report dangerous conditions.
  • Tune to local radio or television stations for emergency information and instructions from local authorities.
  • If flooding is likely, and time permits, move valuable household possessions to the upper floors of your home.
  • If advised by local authorities to leave your home, move to a safe area before access is cut off by floodwater. Establish an out-of- state family contact so that friends and relatives will know whom to call to get information about where you are.
  • Before leaving, disconnect all electrical appliances, and if advised by your local utility, shut off electric circuits at the fuse panel and gas service at the meter.​

After the Storm

  • ​​DO NOT TURN GAS BACK ON YOURSELF. Rely on utility crews.
  • Do not use fresh foods or canned goods that have come in contact with floodwaters.
  • Follow local instructions regarding the safety of drinking water. If in doubt, boil or purify water before drinking. Have wells pumped out and the water tested before drinking.
  • Avoid disaster areas; your presence could hamper rescue and other emergency operations, and you may be in danger.
  • Do not handle live electrical equipment in wet areas. If electrical equipment or appliances have been in contact with water, have them checked before use.
  • Avoid downed power lines and broken gas lines. Report them immediately to the electric or gas company, police or fire department.
  • Use flashlights NOT lanterns, matches or candles to examine buildings; flammables may be inside.
  • Stay tuned to radio or television for information and instructions from local authorities. 

Storms Can Kill

​Winter storms in California can be deadly, causing flooding, flash floods, high coastal surf, mudslides, snowstorms and avalanches. Your city, county, and state Offices of Emergency Services have prepared these brief safety tips to help you prepare for a safe winter.

Wherever you live or travel, you should be aware of the dangers of winter storms and be prepared to cope with one. For more information on the history of flooding in your area, and how you and your family can prepare for winter, call your city or county Office of Emergency Services (in the Government section of the telephone book), or the nearest office of the National Weather Service.

Watches and Warnings: What to do

When a flood WATCH is issued:

  • Move valuable household posessions to the upper floors of your home
  • Fill your cars' gas tank in the event an evacuation order is issued
  • Watch for signs of flash flooding and be ready to evacuate on a moment's notice
When a flood WARNING is issued:
  • Tune to local radio and TV stations for information and advice
  • When told to evacuate, do so as quickly as possible
  • If you believe flash flooding has begun, evacuate immediately!
  • Move to higher ground and away from rivers, streams, creeks and storm drains
  • Do not drive around barricades.  They are placed to keep you out of harm's way
  • If your car stalls in rapidly rising water, abandon it immediately and climb to higher ground

How to Use Sandbags

Mud/Debris Flow Information

What to do before, during and after a landslide


Wind Storm Info

​In December of 2010, California was impacted by a series of severe wind storms which damaged businesses and property - particularly in Sounthern parts of the state - proving once again that we are vulnerable to disasters of all kinds. Learn more about wind storms and how to protect yourself from the dangers that they bring.