Flood Preparation

Reducing Flood Damage

Reducing the severity and occurrence of flooding in Lake Forest Park is not going to happen overnight. In fact, it may take years or decades. In the mean time, you may want to take steps to prepare for a flood.


Please take this opportunity to prepare for a flood by following these few simple steps:

  • Be prepared to evacuate
  • Direct water from downspouts at least 10 feet away from your home
  • Do not walk or drive in standing water
  • Prepare sandbags
  • Remove leaves and debris from storm drains
  • Store household chemicals and valuables above flood levels

Do not rely on the sandbags provided by the City of Lake Forest Park or other public agencies. Please prepare your own sandbags, for instructions on how to fill your own sandbags visit the US Army Corps of Engineers for construction and configuration of the bags as well.

Additional Information

When a large amount of rain falls, it can overwhelm the drainage system and cause flooding. Here's some tips for before, during, and after heavy rain and flooding events.

To prepare for heavy rains and prevent flooding:

  • Clear sidewalks and storm drains of leaves and debris. Most street flooding is caused by clogged storm drain grates. City employees clear storm drains, but it's hard to get to all public drains. Do not remove the grate from the storm drain opening - this does not unclog the system and creates a hazard for everyone. Place your leaves in a yard waste container or compost bin, not in the street. We appreciate your help.
  • Leave natural vegetation on steep slopes and along streams and lakes. Plants slow storm water runoff and help prevent erosion.
  • To find out if your house is in a floodplain, call the City of Lake Forest Park Planning and Urban Development Department at (206) 368-5440.
  • Know how and when to turn off gas, electricity and water lines.
  • Clean gutters and downspouts at your home several times a year and direct flows away from your home.
  • Have an emergency kit prepared ahead of time in case you need to evacuate your home.
  • Consider buying flood insurance to protect your property. Homeowners' insurance does not cover flood loss, but most homeowners' insurance agents all sell flood insurance. Anyone can get flood insurance, even if you are located in an area not mapped as a floodplain, or even if you have never been flood before. Learn more: Floodsmart.gov
  • Consider using sand and sandbags to prevent flood damages: The City of Lake Forest Park has deployed sandbags at designated locations for use during the flood season. Please notify the City prior to taking sandbags by calling 206-368-5440. This will allow the City to track the number of sandbags used and to refill the locations.

During heavy rains:

Call 911 for life-threatening emergencies. Call the City of Lake Forest Park at 206-368-5440 if your home or office is in danger of flooding.

  • Keep a battery-powered radio tuned to a local station.
  • If you are caught in your building by rapidly rising waters, call 911 for help. Then move to a higher floor or to the roof. Take warm, weatherproof clothing, a flashlight, a cell phone, and a portable radio.
  • Do not walk or wade in flooded areas.
  • Be prepared to evacuate: If advised to evacuate, do so immediately. Evacuation is much simpler and safer before flood waters become too deep.
  • If you evacuate by car: 
    • Do not attempt to drive through standing water. Even a small amount of water can stall your car.
    • If your car stalls in a flooding area, abandon it immediately and walk to safety in the direction you came from.
  • Stay away from fallen power lines and electrical wires. Assume any downed power line is an energized power line.
  • When flooding is imminent, but only if time permits:
    • Close the main gas valve.
    • Turn off all utilities in your building at the main power switch. Do not touch any electrical equipment unless it is in a dry area or you are standing on a piece of dry wood while wearing rubber-soled shoes and rubber gloves.
    • Record flood statistics such as time, gage reading, and local flood elevations for use in future home flood forecasting.

After the flood:

  • Before re-entering your home: Check for structural damage that could cause the building to collapse. Be cautious of potential gas leaks, electrical shorts and live wires.
  • When re-entering a building: Use flashlights, rather than lanterns or candles in case of gas leaks.
  • Have a professional check: your heating system, electrical panel, outlets and appliances for safety before using. Call the gas company to have them turn the gas back on.
  • Document your losses: photograph damages and record repair costs.
  • Document your insurance agent for flood loss claims.
  • Remove and empty sandbags: do not dump sand into the river or on its banks. Store it for future use.
  • Apply for financial assistance: only available following a federal disaster declaration. Listen to the radio or television for updates on disaster assistance and registration procedures.

Landslide Resources

US Geological Survey

American Red Cross

Washington State Department of Natural Resources