What You Should Do if a Flood Occurs

What to Do During a Flood

As for Any Disaster, Have a Plan & Preparedness Kit Ready for Your Family

We recommend establishing a family emergency plan and a 72 hour kit.

Before a Flood Ever Strikes, Get Flood Insurance

Many homeowners are shocked to discover that their homeowner's (or renter's) insurance policies do not cover flooding. Check with your insurance agent to see what your coverage would be in the event of a flood. View information on the National Flood Insurance Program.

If Given Enough Advance Notice of a Flood, & Your Safety is Not at Risk, Erect Sandbag Dikes

If you have enough warning and your safety isn't compromised, you can begin building sandbag dikes along your property. The US Army Corps of Engineers has a great document (PDF) on how to properly use sandbags in a flood situation.

Remember, you want to have at least 8ft between your home's foundation and the sandbag dike. This ensures you have walking space to maintain the dike and area to expand the dike if necessary. Additionally, with this space, the pressure of the floodwaters up against the dike won't press against your home's foundation causing indirect damage.

Be Flood Alert Sign
People Standing in Snow
Example Sand Bag Dike

Available Sandbags

Teton County Emergency Management has a limited number of sandbags available to local residents and businesses in the event of flooding. Sandbags will be issued when flood potential is high (such as during National Weather Service flood watches and warnings) on a first-come, first-serve basis. Recipients of sandbags are responsible for obtaining their own sandbag fill and building their sandbag dikes. If bags are still in a usable condition, they should be returned to Emergency Management following the flood event. Contact Emergency Management at 307-733-9572 for more information.

And no matter how vigorously you are defending your property and how many people you have helping you, some situations are not defensible. If ordered to evacuate by local emergency services, you must do so for your safety and that of your family, friends, and neighbors.

Install Mitigation Devices to Reduce the Formation of Frazil Ice

This is beyond the scope of most homeowners, but the Town of Jackson and Teton County have addressed this in many areas. Here are some of the ice jam mitigation projects:

  • "Thaw wells" on Flat Creek: The Town of Jackson Engineering Department maintains three wells that can pump ground water into Flat Creek at Crabtree Ln near the bike path, Karns Meadow, and the High School Rd bridge. The water from the wells isn't heated, but since the ground water is warmer than the supercooled water in the creeks, this can help to prevent the formation of frazil ice.
  • Heat tubes under bridges and in culverts: Teton County Road & Levee uses heat tubes to prevent ice formation in culverts in the Buffalo Valley area that in the past would fill with ice and cause flooding. These tubes run on electric current and keep the temperature in the culverts high enough to prevent ice accumulation.        
  • Stream management on Flat Creek: The Town of Jackson Engineering Department has completed a stream modification and enhancement project on Flat Creek from N Highway 89 (Dairy Queen) downstream to W Broadway (Staples). The enhancement includes digging deeper channels that not only allows for more water flow to prevent frazil ice, but also improves fish habitat. The plan is to continue this project further downstream in coming years.

Stay Tuned to EAS Broadcasts for Instruction Before, During, & Following the Disaster

Listen to your NOAA All-Hazards Weather Radio or another Emergency Alert System (EAS) broadcaster for instructions from emergency services before, during, and following a disaster.

Educate Yourself

FEMA has a very informative site on flooding. If you are a homeowner who is interested, you can take the FEMA independent study course "Engineering Principles and Practices for Retrofitting Flood-Prone Residential Structures"