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Practice Flood Safety as Florence Brings Rain to Virginia

Release date: 
September 15, 2018
Release Number: 

PHILADELPHIA – As Tropical Storm Florence approaches Virginia, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Region III continues to prepare for potential impacts and support the Commonwealth. FEMA is currently responding to Florence in the Carolinas and planning for recovery in the hardest hit communities. Florence remains a dangerous storm and its’ deadly impacts show the need to prepare now for potential flooding and be aware of changing weather forecasts.

FEMA is encouraging everyone to practice flood safety and consider the below tips to stay safe in the event of flooding:

  • If you are safe, stay put. Stay indoors until you are told it is safe to go outside by local officials.
  • Keep out of the water. Flood water can contain dangerous debris, downed power lines, and germs. Do not attempt to walk, swim, wade, or drive through flood waters.
  • Let first responders do their job. Stay off the roads and waterways. Use VHF Channel 16, or call 9-1-1 for emergency needs. Do not rely on social media if you are in danger.
  • Safety Check-in. Text instead of calling to let loved ones know that you are safe; keep phone lines open for first responders.
  • To Donate or volunteer, visit the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters at or check with your local officials. A financial contribution to a recognized disaster relief organization is the most effective donation to make.
  • Residents in the potential path of Florence should tune into local forecasts for the latest information on the storm.
  • Know your area’s risk of flooding. Follow the guidance of your local officials.
    • Contact your local officials regarding community plans and resources in place.
    • Sign up for your community’s warning system or Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA).
    • Keep a NOAA Weather Radio tuned to your local emergency station and monitor TV, radio, and follow mobile alert and mobile warnings about severe weather in your area.
    • Download the FEMA app, receive weather alerts from the National Weather Service for up to five different locations anywhere in the United States.
  • If you are at risk for flash flooding, watch for warning signs such as heavy rain.
    • Flash flooding happens quickly with little to no warning – be aware of your surroundings and move to higher elevations as needed.
  • Turn Around, Don’t Drown! Do not attempt to cross flooded roadways or areas. 6 inches of water can knock a person down, and 12 inches can move your vehicle.
  • Check on your neighbors – make sure they are prepared for any potential impacts from Florence.
  • Keep important documents in a waterproof container. Create password-protected digital copies.
  • Protect your property. Declutter drains and gutters. Install check valves in plumbing to prevent backups. Move valuables to higher levels of your home.
  • If you have access and functional needs, take steps to prepare in advance, including informing your support network of your emergency supplies and planning for your critical needs, such as transportation, power, and communications.
  • Prepare for potential power outages – identify what you rely on electricity for, obtain batteries for flashlights or critical devices, and charge your phones.
  • Learn more at
  • If you have a generator, operate it safely – outside, never indoors, and follow guidance to ensure it connects safely to your home.

To learn more, visit and


FEMA’s mission is helping people before, during, and after disasters. FEMA Region III’s jurisdiction includes Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia. Learn more about FEMA Region III at Stay informed of FEMA’s activities online: videos and podcasts are available at and Follow us on Twitter at


Last Updated: 
September 15, 2018 - 13:59