IMPORTANT: If you are trapped in your home or facing a life-threatening situation, please call 911.
Other contact information:
Detroit Homeland Security and Emergency Management: 313-596-2590
Detroit Water and Sewerage Department: 313-267-8000
Building Safety Engineering and Environmental Department Environmental Affairs 313-224-3257
Information from Buildings, Safety Engineering and Environmental Department
Protect your family and property
- Call 313-224-3257 to find out the flood hazard for your property
- Store your valuables and insurance papers above the flood level in a waterproof container
- If you see flooded roads, Turn Around Don't Drown
- Both homeowners and renters should purchase flood insurance if located in the Special Flood Hazard Area
- Get a permit from the Buildings, Safety Engineering and Environmental Department before you build or alter your home.
- More information regarding protection, insurance, and hazards can be found in the links below
Information from the Detroit Health Department
If your home is flooded with water or a sewer backup, starting the cleanup and restoration as soon as you can will help to reduce the damage from the flood. The Detroit Health Department suggests that you contact a licensed plumber as soon as possible to begin the removal of water.
Basic Safety Measures
These basic safety measures and cleaning tips for your home can help to keep you safe and healthy:
- Avoid skin contact with flood water, and keep cuts and sores clean and covered.
- Do not allow children to play in flood water.
- Do not eat or drink anything touched by flood water.
- Wash hands often with soap and paper towel and clean water, scrub for at least 20 seconds.
- There is a strong risk of being injured by electricity as the flood water could cover electric outlets, surge protectors, or electrical powered devices. Do not step into water until the electricity has been turned off.
- Wear rubber boots, gloves and an N-95 respirator mask (found at most home improvement stores) during removal and cleanup.
- Open windows if possible to dry the area. Fans can be used to help with drying.
Things that are wet for two or more days, including carpets and rugs, can have mold growing on them, even if you can’t see the mold. Mold can make the air in your home unhealthy and affect people with asthma, allergies or other breathing problems.
- Get rid of any dirty objects that cannot be thoroughly cleaned.
- Wash surfaces and items with warm, soapy water and disinfect by mixing 1/4 cup bleach per one gallon of water. Home or laundry cleaner can be used for items that would be damaged by bleach.
- Do not use ammonia. Ammonia mixed with bleach can create a deadly gas.
Due to the likelihood of an injury after a flood, it is recommended that all responders and residents make sure that they are up-to-date with a tetanus shot. If you receive a cut, scratch or other wound, you should contact your doctor because other medicines or treatment may be needed.
Follow these cleaning tips to help prevent disease and reduce property loss:
The Detroit Health Department recommends hiring professionals to do much of the restoration work, especially if you have health problems. If you want to do some or all of the work yourself, here are some tips:
Discard any dirty objects that cannot be thoroughly washed or laundered including mattresses, and upholstered furniture.
- Wash dirty surfaces and objects with warm, soapy water and clean with a bleach and water solution made of 1/4 cup of bleach per one gallon of water. For items that would be damaged by bleach, use a mild cleaning liquid.
- Make sure to read and follow label instructions. Do not use ammonia. Ammonia mixed with bleach creates a gas that could be deadly.
Carpets and Rugs
If the damaged area is small, you may be able to save the carpet by cleaning the area with a mild cleaning liquid. There also are professional home cleaning services that may be able to clean your carpets. Carpets and rugs with severe water damage must be removed for cleaning or replaced.
Floors, Drapes and Furniture
Scrub and wash all objects in the affected area of your home, including clothes, exposed to flood waters. Use warm, not hot, tap water with soap. Floors and hard surfaces should be cleaned by mixing 1/4 cup bleach per one gallon of water, or use a household cleaning liquid. A professional cleaner may be able to clean furniture and drapes.
Pump out standing water and remove all trash. DWSD recommends that pumping be done by a licensed plumber. Wait to pump until floodwaters are below basement level. Strain away all liquids from trash. After straining trash, wrap in newspaper and store in tight-lid garbage cans until pick up. Paneling and wallboard must be immediately cleaned and dried thoroughly. If the damage is severe, they should be removed and replaced.
Food and Water Safety
Throw away food exposed to dirty water. If refrigerators or freezers have taken in water, throw away food stored there. If no water entered these appliances, but power was lost long enough for foods to thaw, throw away all partially thawed foods unless prepared immediately. Discard milk, cheeses and other foods that may spoil. Thawed meats and vegetables should be discarded immediately. Discard all bulging or leaking canned food and any food stored in jars. Non-dented, undamaged cans can be wiped down on the outside of the can with bleach before use.
Documents and Links
Brochure: Map Changes and Flood Insurance: What Property Owners Need to Know
CDC Infographic: Be Ready! Floods
Factsheet: From Higher Risk to Lower Risk
Factsheet: Moving From High-Risk to Higher-Risk (A-zones to V-zones)
Factsheet: Moving From Lower Risk to Higher Risk
FEMA Graphic: Turn Around, Don't Drown.
FEMA Map Viewer
FEMA Map Website
FEMA National Flood Insurance Program
FEMA National Flood Insurance Program Community Rating System
FEMA | Flood Smart
Flood Safety Tips and Resources
FloodSmart | If Your Property Moves from High Risk to Higher Risk (A-zones to V-zones)
FloodSmart | If Your Property Moves from Higher Risk to Lower Risk
FloodSmart | If Your Property Moves from Lower Risk to High Risk
FloodSmart | Learn Why Flood Maps Change Over Time
Turn Around Don't Drown! PSA
USGS Detroit River Data