September is National Preparedness Month. Be prepared, be vigilant, be safe. Floods happen in a hurry.

Boulder is the number one flash flood risk community in Colorado due to its location at the mouth of several canyons and the number of people who live, work and recreate in the floodplains. When floods occur, there may be mere minutes to react. The best defense is to understand the risks, be prepared and know how to respond.

Be Prepared 

  • Sign up for emergency alerts at www.BoCo911Alert.com . This system allows community members in Boulder County and all cities within the county to be notified of emergency situations in a variety of ways (by phone, text messaging and email).
  • Create a plan so everyone in your family, home or business knows what to do and where to go. Pick at least two safe meeting locations on higher ground with different routes and accessibility.
  • Complete the plan together, talk about it and think about conducting a practice run.
  • Choose an emergency contact outside of Boulder and make sure everyone in your circle has the contact’s information.
  • Take the time to put together an emergency supply kit. This is an invaluable tool if an evacuation happens quickly or resources are cut off. For a detailed list of what to include in an emergency kit, visit https://www.ready.gov/build-a-kit .
  • Want to educate kids about floods? Visit www.ready.gov/kids for interactive games and lessons to help kids learn how to prepare.
  • Buy flood insurance, even if your home or businesses isn’t in a floodplain. Boulder residents and businesses are eligible for discounts. Learn more.

Respond in the moment 

When you hear the siren or an emergency warning, tune in to local news or visit boulderoem.com .

  • If you are unable to evacuate safely, sheltering in place may be the best option if you’re in an elevated or floodproofed building. Head to the top floor if available.
  • Need to get out? Follow your plan! Gather any friends and family and get to higher ground. Don’t forget that emergency kit.
  • Avoid underpasses as they are among the first areas to flood. Never drive through a flooded area or around barricades; abandon your vehicle if necessary and move to higher ground.
  • Once in a safe location, and if you have phone service, call or text your emergency contact to provide updates and your whereabouts.

These are great steps to help prepare for and react to a flood event, but there is always more to know. Be sure to sign up to receive messages about flash floods and other imminent threats and hazards at www.boco911alert.com . More in-depth information about flooding is available at bouldercolorado.gov/flood .