Senator Heidi Heitkamp United States Senator for North Dakota

Flood Preparedness and Response Resources

Every year holds the potential to bring new flooding challenges to communities across North Dakota. In the U.S. Senate, Senator Heitkamp is continuing to work with federal, state, and local officials to make sure we’re taking necessary steps to provide permanent flood protection for families and communities. In addition to long-term investments and safety infrastructure, it’s also important that folks across the state have the resources necessary to plan for and react in case flooding occurs. 

Below are best practices and resources to help North Dakotans stay informed, plan ahead, prepare right before a flood, what to do during a flood, after a flood, and how to clean and repair your home

North Dakota Travel Maps
North Dakota Travel Alerts
National Weather Service Forecast Offices in Bismarck and Grand Forks
Learn about disaster and emergency response provided by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

  • Create a communications plan: create a plan with your family and friends so you can stay connected in the event of a disaster.
  • Assemble an emergency kit: an emergency kit should include food, water, and medicine to last at least 3 days in the case of an emergency. Water, batteries, blankets, flashlights, first aid kit, rubber boots and gloves, and a weather radio are all items that should be included.
  • Know your risk: determine ahead of time where water is likely to collect on roads you travel on often and the fastest way to higher ground. 
  • Prepare your home: fill and prepare sandbags, have professionals install check-valves in your plumbing, make sure your sump pump is working and that your electric circuit breakers or fuses are clearly marked. Contact your insurance company or agent to purchase flood insurance. 
  • Download and complete the American Red Cross Flood Safety Checklist
  • Types of preparation assistance provided by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers include:
    - Participation in emergency seminars and exercises when requested by state, local, or tribal officials;
    - Inspection of flood risk reduction projects constructed or repaired by the Corps and advisement to local
      officials of needed maintenance;
    - Technical assistance for development of plans at the state, local, and tribal level; and
    - Upon request, inspection of non-federal dams and flood risk reduction projects.

   - Fill plastic bottles with clean water for drinking
   - Fill bathtubs and sinks with water for flushing the toilet or washing the
     floor or clothing
   - Fill your car's gas tank, in case you need to evacuate
   - Bring outdoor belongings, such as patio furniture, indoors
   - Turn off propane tanks to reduce the potential for fire
   - Move your furniture and valuables to higher floors of your home
   - Unplug small appliances to reduce potential damages from power surges
     that may occur
   - If necessary, reach out the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for preparedness
     measures including emergency management organization, planning,
training, maintaining adequate supplies, tools and equipment, and inspection program for both federal and non-federal flood risk reduction projects. Click here for more information on types of assistance provided and criteria for corps assistance.

  • Stay informed: monitor local radio, TV, internet, and social media for information and updates.
  • Get to higher ground
  • Obey evacuation orders: follow orders from local authorities. Lock your home when you leave, and if you have time, disconnect utilities and appliances.
  • Practice electrical safety: Don't go into a basement, or any room, if water covers the electrical outlets or cords are submerged. Stay out of water that may have electricity in it.
  • Avoid flood waters: Don’t walk through flood waters. It only takes six inches of moving water to knock you off your feet and two feet of water can sweep your vehicle away. If you’re trapped by moving water, move to the highest possible point and call 911 for help. Do not drive into flooded roadways or around a barricade. Water may be deeper than it appears and can hide many hazards. A vehicle caught in swiftly moving water can be swept away in a matter of seconds. 
  • Click here to learn about emergency assistance and flood response provided by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

  • Stay informed: continue to monitor local news for updated information and road conditions. Ensure water is safe to drink, cook, or clean with. Check with utility companies to find out when electricity or gas services may be restored. Carbon monoxide poisoning is one of the leading causes of death after storms when areas are dealing with power outages. Never use a portable generator inside your home or garage.
  • Avoid flood waters and disaster areas
  • Heed road closed and cautionary signs
  • Wait for the "all clear" from authorities before returning home
  • Contact your family and loved ones
  • Photograph damage on your property for insurance purposes
  • Follow these tips for inspecting your home's structure and utilities & systems after a flood.
  • Dispose any food that came into contact with flood water.
  • Click here to learn about post-flood response provided by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

  • Wear protective clothing, including rubber gloves and rubber boots, and be cautious when cleaning up.
  • Learn more about how to clean up after a flood, including the supplies you’ll need, how to sanitize food contact surfaces, and how to repair water damage.
  • Be careful when moving furnishings or debris, because they may be waterlogged and heavier.
  • Throw out items that absorb water and cannot be cleaned or disinfected. This includes mattresses, carpeting, cosmetics, stuffed animals and baby toys.
  • Throw out all food, beverages and medicine exposed to flood waters and mud. When in doubt, throw it out. This includes canned goods, plastic utensils, baby bottle nipples and containers with food or liquid that has been sealed shut.
  • Pump out flooded basements gradually (about one-third of the water per day) to avoid structural damage. If the water is pumped out completely in a short period of time, pressure from water-saturated soil on the outside could cause basement walls to collapse.
  • Service damaged septic tanks, cesspools, pits, and leaching systems as soon as possible. Damaged sewage systems are health hazards.

Information also available at, American Red Cross, and National Weather Service.