495 Upper Park Road
Santa Cruz, CA
Phone: (831) 458-7150
Fax: (831) 458-7139

Office Hours:
M-F 8:00 a.m to 12:00 Noon
1:00 p.m.to 5:00 p.m.


Flood Preparedness


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 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. 

When a Flood WATCH is Issued

  • Move valuable household possessions to the upper floors of your home

  • Fill your car's gas tank in the event an evacuation order is issued.

When a Flood WARNING is Issued
  • Tune in for information and advice to local radio and TV stations

  • When told to evacuate, do so as quickly as possible.

When a flash flood WATCH is Issued
  • Watch for signs of flash flooding and be ready to evacuate on a moment's notice

 When a flash flood WARNING is Issued
  • If you believe flash flooding has begun, evacuate immediately as you may have only seconds to escape

  • Move to higher ground and away from rivers, streams, creeks and storm drains. Do not drive around barricades. These are placed to keep you out of harm's way

  • If your car stalls in rapidly rising waters, abandon it immediately and climb to higher ground




Sand Bags and Sand Suppliers
Click for information an where to acquire Sand Bags



Before the Storm

  • Keep insurance policies, documents and other valuables in a safe-deposit box

  • Check your homeowner's or renter's insurance for flood insurance coverage--if none exists, purchase

  • Store supplies at work, home and car in handy locations: (First aid kit and essential medications, canned, dry, packaged 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


During the Storm

  • Avoid 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 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 flood water. Establish an out of state "family contact" so that friends and relatives will know who to call to get information about where you are

  • Before leaving, disconnect all electrical appliances, and if advised by your local utility company, shut off electric circuts 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 flood waters 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.
Check for injuries. Apply first aid. Do not move seriously injured individuals unless they are in immediate danger. Do not use the telephone immediately unless there is a serious injury or fire. Hunt for hazards:

When the Flood Comes -- Evacuate!

After the Flood -- Clean up!

Flood Preparedness

For your protection, be sure to: 

  • Check buildings for structural damage prior to entering--be sure they are not in danger of collapsing.

  • Turn off any outside gas lines at the meter or tank.

  • Not use open flames as a source of light since gas may still be trapped inside--a nonmetallic, fully sealed flashlight is ideal.

  • Watch for electrical shorts or live wires before making certain that the main power switch is turned off.

  • Do not turn on any lights or appliances until an electrician has checked the system for short circuits.

  • Cover broken windows and holes in the roof or walls to prevent further weather damage.

  • Throw out fresh food and previously opened medicines that have come in contact with floodwaters.

  • Boil water  intended for personal consumption and use for 10 minutes.

  • Refrigerators, stoves and other hard goods should be hosed off and kept for the adjuster's inspection.

  • Take all wooden furniture outdoors but keep it out of direct sunlight to prevent warping.

  • Shovel out mud while it is still moist.

  • Flooded basements should be drained.

  Emergency Supply Checklist
  • Flashlights and extra batteries

  • Portable, battery operated radio and extra batteries

  • Fist aid kit freshly stocked and manual

  • Emergency food and water

  • Can opener (non electric)

  • Essential medicines and glasses

  • Money (include loose change)

  • Sturdy shoes

  Flood Insurance

Most homeowner's insurance policies do NOT offer protection against flood losses. For information about flood insurance, call your insurance agent, or visit the FEMA site at FEMA:NFIP.
If your home, apartment or business has suffered flood damage, immediately call the agent or broker who handles your flood insurance policy; the agency will submit a Notice of Loss Form to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). An adjuster will be assigned to inspect your property as soon as possible. 

    Take pictures of the damage done to your building and its contents before you start to clean up.


The County of Santa Cruz makes no representations or warrants as to the suitability of this information for your particular purpose, and that to the extent you use or implement this information in your own setting you do so at your own risk. The information provided herewith is solely for your own use and cannot be sold. In no event will the County of Santa Cruz be liable for any damages whatsoever, whether direct, consequential, incidental, special or on claim for attorney fees arising out of the use of or inability to use the information provided herewith.

You can email us at Office of Emergency Services