Michael Faulkner, Director
499 NW 5th Ave.  Okeechobee, FL  34972
Phone: (863) 763-3212     Fax: (863) 763-1569
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Flood Tips


The "wall of water" type of flash-flood is rare in Florida, due to the relatively flat terrain. However, serious flooding can occur near rivers and streams, as well as in urban areas. This flooding can cause sever personal inconvenience, damage to property, and even loss of life. Recent construction in previously uninhabited areas of Florida has led to exposure from flooding through a rise in groundwater. Particularly after heavy periods of rain, these areas revert to their swampy origins, causing isolation of residences and businesses, damage to roadways and utilities, and contamination of water supplies for weeks and sometimes months.


People who live well inland from the coast, such as Okeechobee, often feel they will not be affected by an approaching hurricane, since they will not experience the crushing hurricane winds and waves. True, as a hurricane moves inland, its wind forces weaken rapidly. But inland flooding caused by hurricanes can be intensive. The tons of water the storm PICKED UP over the ocean will be released as the storm moves inland. Rainfall from a hurricane sometimes can be measured in tens of inches.


Many people do not know their homeowner's insurance policy does not cover losses from flooding. You are eligible to purchase flood insurance as a result of Okeechobee's commitment to adopt flood lain management measures through the National Flood Insurance Program. Only a five day wait is required for your flood insurance policy to become effective. Renters can buy policies to protect their personal property against possible flood damage, too. The National Flood Insurance Program is administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). A simple call to your insurance agent or broker starts the process to cover our home, possessions, and business.

List all your personal property. Make an itemized list of your furnishings, clothing and valuables. This list is for your protection and will help prove your claims are valid. It is a good idea to take pictures of these items, as well as your home.

Keep your policy and your list of personal property in a safe place, such as a safe deposit box, or a water and fire proof container.


If you are in a highly flood-prone area:

  • Have a NOAA weather radio, with tone alert, on hand, and during heavy rains, monitor it for flood warnings, watches or statements. Stay tuned to radio or television stations.

  • Keep materials on hand like sandbags, plywood, plastic sheeting, a supply of plastic garbage bags, and lumber.

  • Keep your automobile fueled.

  • Keep a stock of food which requires little cooking and no refrigeration.

  • Keep a portable radio, emergency cooking equipment, lights and flashlights in working order.


  • Know that in floods cars can become coffins. Avoid driving into water of unknown depth, especially in periods of low visibility. Moving water can quickly sweep your vehicle away. Standing water deep enough to cover wheels can cause cars to float---possibly into a canal, river, or pond.

  • If asked by local officials, quickly evacuate to avoid being cut off by flood water. Turn off all utilities at the main switch if time permits.

  • If time permits, move furnishings to safe ground; fill tanks to keep them from floating away, tie down propane tanks, grease immovable machinery.

  • If your caught in the house by the suddenly rising flood waters, move to the second floor and/or if necessary, to the roof. Take warm clothing as well as your flashlight with you. Don't try to swim to safety. Wait for help. Rescue teams will be looking for you.


  • Test drinking water for potability; wells should be pumped out and the water tested before drinking.

  • Do not use fresh food that has come in contact with flood waters.

  • Restrict children from playing in flooded areas. Hidden sharp objects and open storm drains are safety hazards. If kids do play in standing water, bathe them as soon as possible and watch for signs of infection or disease.

  • Do not handle live electrical equipment in wet area; electrical equipment should be checked and dried before returning to service.

  • Unclog storm drains, culverts, and ditches. Standing water breeds mosquitoes, which carry disease.

  • Use flashlights, not lanterns or torches, to examine buildings; flammables may be inside.

  • Report broken utility lines to appropriate authorities.

  • Open windows and doors to let the air circulate. This will help remove foul odors and protect you from escaping gas. It will also help dry out the house. Take pictures of the damage.

  • Begin cleanup as soon as possible. Throw out any perishable foods; they may be contaminated. Hose down hard goods such as major appliances and furniture.

  • Make any temporary repairs necessary to stop further losses from the elements or from looting.

Floods cause more damage nationwide than any other natural disaster. If you live in a flood-prone area, be smart. Protect yourself and your family from the consequences of a flood disaster, starting with flood insurance from the NFIP. It could happen to you.



The official site of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).


Call Toll Free 1-888-379-9531


Before the Flood

During the Flood

After the Flood



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