Severe storms can often cause flooding, power outages, downed trees and more. Find out how to be prepared, who to call and get tips on dealing with the aftermath.
Who to Call
After a Storm
During a Storm
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- Power outages: Dominion Virginia Power, 1-866-DOM-HELP (1-866-366-4357), or 1-888-667-3000. (or www.dom.com)
- Check on your neighbors, especially the elderly and folks with disabilities
- Natural gas emergencies: Washington Gas 703-750-1400 or 800-752-7520. If you smell gas, leave and call 9-1-1. Washington Gas Safety Page
- Trees Down: 703-228-6525
- Street flooding, water, sewer and storm-sewer: 703-228-6555 (emergency hotline)
(Note: During high rains, call volume is often greater than normal. Operators will respond to your call as soon as they can.)
- Traffic signal outages: 703-228-6511
- Community assistance: If you are without power, out of food, need shelter or any number of vital services, call 703-228-1300 to get connected to people and organizations that can help.
- You can also dial 2-1-1 from any phone.
- For life-threatening emergencies, always call 9-1-1.
- Internet or Cable TV outages:
- If you have a life-threatening emergency, always call 9-1-1. The non-emergency number (for the Emergency Communications Center) is 703-558-2222.
Storm Clean-up and Services Contacts
- Water, sewer, storm sewer problems: 703-228-6570 (Mon. thru Fri. from 8am-5pm)
- Brush pick up, bulky items pick up, or report missed trash pick up: 703-228-6570
- Sidewalks, potholes: 703-228-6570 (Mon. thru Fri. from 8am-5pm)
- Trash and recycling: 703-228-6570 (Mon. thru Fri. from 8am-5pm)
- Sports cancellations (fields and leagues): 703-228-4715.
- Got major home damage? Get inspection/permit info, tips.
- Don't get swindled by contractors or vendors
Food & Water
- Throw out any perishable food in your refrigerator if your power outage lasts more than four hours. Safe water for drinking, cooking, and personal hygiene includes bottled, boiled, or treated water. Learn more.
- Protect yourself with rubber boots and waterproof gloves. Disease-causing microorganisms can enter the body through the eyes, nose, mouth, and cuts and abrasions.
- Remove and discard contaminated household goods such as wall coverings, rugs, cloth, and drywall that cannot be disinfected.
- Always wash your hands with soap and water following the cleanup or handling of articles contaminated with sewage.
- Small children, pregnant women and people with health problems should stay out of affected areas until cleanup is complete.
Major Home Damage
Mosquito Control: With flooding also comes the increased likelihood of mosquitoes. Follow these helpful tips from:
- Ensure water does not come in contact with electric panels, outlets or electric appliances.
- Unplug appliances if they're threatened by water. Pay special attention to washers and dryers, which have motors located in the bottom of the appliance.
- If the water level rises high enough to threaten the electrical panel, turn off power to the building.
- Clear downspouts of debris or snow that impedes the flow of water from the roof.
- See more "After a Storm" tips below, on this page.
Sewage Backup in the Home: Flooding may cause wastewater to back up into homes. Sewage contains disease-causing microorganisms. Take proper precautions and follow basic hygiene practices in this case.
Check on others. Check on relatives, friends and neighbors, especially those who are elderly or at risk, to ensure they're safe.
Driving in Flood Conditions
- Do not drive into standing water. If floodwaters rise around your car, abandon the car and move to higher ground if you can do so safely. You and the vehicle can be quickly swept away.
- Six inches of water will reach the bottom of most passenger cars, causing loss of control and possible stalling.
- A foot of water will float many vehicles .
- Two feet of rushing water can carry away most vehicles including SUVs and pick-ups.
Other Flood Condition Cautions
- Do not walk through moving water. Six inches of moving water can make you fall.
- If you have to walk in water, walk where the water is not moving. Use a stick to check the firmness of the ground in front of you. Standing water can hide missing sewer covers and can pose great risk of injury.
- Keep your tetanus shot up-to-date.
- Use good hygiene techniques if you come in contact with flood waters. Wash your hands and take a shower when you are able to do so. Do not drink the water.
Importance of a Personal Response Plan:
Do you have a Personal Response Plan
? Read about the five steps everyone should take to be prepared.
Sweep, rake and bag leaves from stormwater and sanitary sewers to prevent flooding. Keep the curb clear. County leaf collection begins Monday, October 29 >>
Hurricane Preparation Tips
Tips for Construction Sites
Consider Flood Insurance: Homeowner's and business insurance policies typically do not cover flooding. Talk with your agent now about flood insurance because there may be a 30-day waiting period before coverage begins. Flood insurance is available to all types of property owners and tenets, including renters. Visit FloodSmart.gov or call 1-800-427-2419 for information about flood insurance.