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Storm Preparation

Person walking in heavy rain with umbrella

San Francisco winter storms can cause floods, landslides, uprooted trees, and downed or broken utility lines in almost any neighborhood. The City and County of San Francisco has prepared safety tips to help you have a safe winter and protect yourself and your property. For all emergencies, call 911. To report downed tree limbs, clogged catch basins or localized flooding, call 311.


How to prepare for the next storm

  • Be aware of low-elevation spots that could flood.

  • Store emergency items such as first aid kits, flashlights and portable radios in a safe, high place.

  • Store drinking water in closed, clean containers in case water service is interrupted. Allow one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days.

  • Consider installing a back-flow prevention device if any of your inside drains or fixtures are lower than the side sewer vent on the sidewalk.

  • Prepare written instructions on how to turn off electricity, gas and water if authorities advise you to do so. (Remember, you'll need a professional to turn them back on.)


​During the storm

  • If water has entered a garage or basement, do not walk through it.

  • If you are asked to leave your property, disconnect all electrical appliances.

  • Tune to KCBS 740 or local TV channels for emergency advisories and instructions.

  • Avoid downed power lines and broken gas lines.


After the storm

  • DO NOT TURN GAS BACK ON YOURSELF. Call PG&E (800) 743-5000.

  • Avoid direct contact with floodwater. Wear protective clothing, including heavy gloves, to remove wet materials that may be contaminated.

  • Follow local instructions regarding the safety of drinking water.

  • Do no use fresh foods or canned goods that have come in contact with floodwaters.

  • Flooded buildings should be pumped out, disinfected and dried as quickly as possible to prevent mold.

  • Do not handle live electrical equipment in wet areas. Have them checked before use.