Tips - After a Flood

New!Snohomish County Flood Recovery Guide (PDF) - A collection of practical advice to help you recover after a flood

Returning Home

  • Flood dangers do not end when the water recedes. Listen to local radio or television and do not return home until you hear it is safe. When you do return home, use extreme caution.
  • Before re-entering a building, check for structural damage that could cause the building to collapse. Be alert for potential gas leaks, electrical shorts, and live wires.
  • Use flashlights instead of lanterns or candles when entering a building that has a gas heater or gas stove.
  • Pump out flooded basements gradually (about one-third of the water per day) to avoid structural damage. See the video Pumping Out a Flooded Basement by the Washington Emergency Management Division to learn more.
  • Watch out for small animals or rodents that may be hiding under debris.
  • Remove and empty sandbags. Store sand for future use. Do not dump sand into rivers or streams, onto banks of waterways or into storm drains.

Assessing Damage

  • Have a professional check your heating system, electrical panel, outlets and appliances before using them. Call the gas company to have the gas turned back on.
  • Contact your local building department for damage assessments and to see if you need permits to make repairs.
  • Document your losses before you clean, remove or replace anything. Photograph damage, take notes and document estimated repair costs.
  • Contact your insurance agent for flood loss claims.
  • Make a permanent mark on your residence or property to show the maximum height reached by flood waters. This mark can help you to match the river gage readings with actual water levels on your property and allow government agencies to analyze flood damage.
  • Check all food and drink items that may be contaminated by flood water. See for guidance on how to evaluate the safety of your food after a flood.
  • Financial assistance may be available following a federal disaster declaration. Call the Department of Emergency Management and monitor social media, radio or television for information on disaster assistance.

Helpful Numbers

Septic Tank and Well ProblemsSnohomish Health District: 425-339-5250
Flood Debris DisposalSnohomish County Solid Waste: 425-388-3425
To Report Road / Bridge DamageSnohomish County Road Maintenance: 425-388-3411, ext. 7500 or 800-562-4367, ext. 7500
To Report Dike DamageSnohomish County Surface Water Management (SWM): 425-388-3464
Flood Recovery AssistanceSnohomish County Department of Emergency Management (DEM): 425-388-5060 or 800-562-4367, ext. 5060
Inspection of Flood-Damaged StructuresSnohomish County Planning and Development Services (PDS): 425-388-3311
Assistance Returning Farmland to Pre-Disaster ConditionsSnohomish County USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA): 425-334-3131
Assistance with Home Elevations, Relocations, and BuyoutsDavid Wilson, Snohomish County Surface Water Management (SWM): 425-262-2585