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Debris Flow & Flash Flood Preparedness

Debris flows and flash floods can come with no warning. They can cause outages, disrupt transportation, damage buildings, and create landslides. Learn how to prepare now for, survive during and be safe after debris flows and flash floods. 

Prepare Now

  • Sign up for Burbank Community Alerts, Burbank’s Emergency Mass Notification System or visit
  • Know the risk to your area and be prepared to take action if told to evacuate or shelter in place.  If flash flooding is a risk in your location, then monitor potential signs, such as heavy rain.
  • Gather supplies in case you have to leave immediately, or if services are cut off. Keep in mind each person’s specific needs, including medication. Don’t forget the needs of pets. Obtain extra batteries and charging devices for phones and other critical equipment.
  • If you live in a flood prone area, purchase or renew a flood insurance policy. It typically takes up to 30 days for a policy to go into effect and can protect the life you've built. Homeowner’s policies do not cover flooding. You may be eligible to get flood coverage under the National Flood Insurance Program.  Check with your renters, homeowners or commercial insurance provider to see what your coverage protects against. Many people are significantly under insured for their property and contents or don’t have the right coverage to protect against natural disasters. Don’t be caught off guard after an event, check with your insurance provider and ask questions, get answers. 
  • Keep important documents in a waterproof container. Create password-protected digital copies.
  • Protect your property. Move valuables to higher levels. Declutter drains and gutters. Install check valves. Consider a sump pump with a battery.

Survive During

  • Depending on where you are, and the impact and the warning time of flooding, go to the safe location that you previously identified.
  • If told to evacuate, do so immediately. Never drive around barricades. Local responders use them to safely direct traffic out of flooded areas.  If you do not evacuate when told to do so, your best course of action may be to shelter in place in a safe location you have previously identified, so do not attempt to evacuate in fast moving water or flooded conditions.
  • Listen to Emergency Alert System, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Weather Radio, or local alerting systems for current emergency information and instructions.
  • Do not walk, swim, or drive through flood waters. Turn around, don’t drown!
  • Stay off bridges over fast-moving water. Fast-moving water can wash bridges away without warning.
  • If trapped in a building, then go to its highest level. Do not climb into a closed attic. You may become trapped by rising floodwater. Go on the roof only if necessary. Once there, signal for help.

Be Safe After

  • Listen to authorities for information and instructions. Return home only when authorities say it is safe.
  • Avoid driving, except in emergencies.
  • Snakes and other animals may be in your house. Wear heavy gloves and boots during clean up.
  • Be aware of the risk of electrocution. Do not touch electrical equipment if it is wet or if you are standing in water. If it is safe to do so, turn off the electricity to prevent electric shock.
  • Avoid wading in floodwater, which can contain dangerous debris and be contaminated. Underground or downed power lines can also electrically charge the water.
  • Use a generator or other gasoline-powered machinery ONLY outdoors and away from windows.

 Closed road covered in mud 

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