Helping Your Community

We are all better off when we look out for each other. Working together, you and your neighbors can reduce the risk of flooding in your area. You also can make sure everyone is prepared for flooding if it happens. And you can help keep everyone safe.

Here are some things you can do as a community.

On this page:

Get to know your neighbors.

The better you know each other, the better prepared you are to help each other during a disaster. You’ll learn who may need special assistance during a flood. You’ll also find out who may be able to help you. Here are some things you can do:

  • Organize neighborhood events and social gatherings, such as block parties or potluck dinners.
  • Make a special effort to reach out to neighbors who live alone and may need help during disasters.
  • Identify neighbors who may not have access to a car and may need help during an evacuation.
  • Ask neighbors if they would be available to help you if you need transportation.
  • Exchange cellphone numbers so you can call or text each other during an emergency.

Hold community training events to learn basic disaster response skills.

For example, you can use these events to teach everyone how to:

  • Develop an evacuation plan.
  • Build a “go” kit of supplies to take with you when evacuating.
  • Shut off utility services.
  • Protect homes from flooding.

You can invite fire department, police, or emergency management officials to explain how to do these things. You also can print out and share information from this website.

Organize practice drills.

For example, the neighborhood could practice:

  • A shelter-in-place drill. Here’s what you need to know and practice to protect yourself from hurricane-force winds or tornadoes when sheltering in your own home.
  • An evacuation drill. This can help you figure out what to gather to take with you in the event of an emergency. Use the drill to make sure you have these supplies stored in a “go” kit you can grab when you have to leave quickly. You also can use the drill to remind everyone in your family where the kit is stored.
  • A fire drill. This can ensure that everyone in the home or apartment building knows how to get to a safe exit. Residents can gather at a designated safe spot outside. This safe spot should be decided in advance as part of every family’s fire evacuation plan, so families can be sure everyone got out.

Raise awareness.

Make sure new and current community members understand which areas are more likely to flood. Also help them understand what they can do about it. You can direct them to’s map search, where they can find out about their home’s level of risk. They also can use the website to learn more about flood prevention, preparation, and recovery.

Create a neighborhood social media group.

Options include creating a group on Facebook or using Nextdoor. You can use this social media group to:

  • Share ideas about disaster preparedness.
  • Communicate with and support each other during a disaster.

Invite local first responders to your neighborhood for a meet-and-greet.

This will help them learn who lives in your neighborhood and who has specific needs they should know about.

Create a Community Emergency Response Team (CERT).

Contact your local emergency management organization, which supports these teams. CERT volunteers are trained to respond safely, responsibly, and effectively to emergency situations. As a volunteer, you might:

  • Learn how to safely respond to manmade and natural hazards.
  • Help organize basic disaster response.
  • Promote preparedness by hosting and participating in community events.

Work together on flood prevention and protection.

  • Organize neighborhood cleanup days every three months to clear debris from storm drains. This keeps the drains clear so stormwater runoff won’t back up and get into homes.
  • Encourage everyone to install rain barrels and organize a gathering to explain how to install them. When many homes install rain barrels, they reduce the neighborhood stormwater runoff that contributes to flooding.
  • Setting up sandbags to keep floodwater out of homes takes a lot of effort and time. It also takes strength and can be tiring. By sharing the work, neighbors can finish the sandbagging for everyone’s home more quickly and safely.