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General recommendations before a flood

Victims and damage can be avoided if specific action is taken in advance. Consult the  hazard map for your area. Take precautions in good time before a flood and keep the resources you need at hand.

The hazard maps show the residential areas in Switzerland that are endangered by natural hazards, such as floods. Many cantons publish their hazard maps on the Internet. The cantonal natural hazard agencies, communes and in some cases the local emergency services can provide information on the endangered areas, in most cases for individual plots of land.

If you live in an area that is exposed to flooding dangers, it is crucial that you take precautions in good time and keep the resources you need to hand:

  • Carry out structural works on the building: Raise the height of light wells, eliminate weaknesses in leaky doors, windows, passive air inlets and power supply lines; build flood protection walls; install backflow preventers in sewers (separate roof water and waste water drainage) etc.. Consult experts on questions concerning the precautions.
  • Adapt the interior layout, e.g. ensure living and work rooms are not in endangered areas, position electrical installations away from areas which may become flooded and secure heating oil tanks to prevent them floating away.
  • Store water-polluting and flammable substances (chemicals, fertilisers, fuels and lubricants, paints, thinners etc.) outside the critical zone.
  • Keep key resources to hand, such as waste-water pumps, hoses, sand bags, plastic sheeting, sealing agents, formwork panels, wooden boards, tools, nails, an emergency generator and personal emergency equipment; check the individual items' fitness for use each spring.
  • Find out where sand bags are distributed in your area.
  • Check your building insurance covers natural hazards.
  • Allocate the tasks to be carried out by the individual members of the household in case of a flood.
  • Consider possible escape routes (from endangered rooms, the building and the area).