Community Development & Flooding

Recovery from natural disasters is a top priority for the City of Dayton - for private and public properties alike. The Department of Planning and Community Development plays a critical role in assisting community members in numerous ways. Below find some useful information and guidance to aid in the next stages as we begin recovering from the 2020 flood event.

Updates and Notifications

Facebook has proven to be a useful tool for receiving notifications, including privately managed pages and the Columbia County Emergency Management page. Columbia County also uses a notification system called CODE RED, where emergency notifications and updates are pushed out accordingly via text and/or phone call. As always, call 911 in the case of an emergency, and save the non-emergency number for use as well: (509) 382-2518.

Before the Flood

Having a plan to respond to flood events is important for every everyone. The number one priority is public safety. Consider reviewing this FEMA publication on guidance for How to Prepare for a Flood.

During the Flood

During the flood event, it is critical to heed all warnings made by local officials. This includes: not driving over water on roadways, obeying road closures, and vacating immediately if notified of an evacuation order. As stated, the primary goal is public safety. Utilize the notification systems listed above to stay updated, and avoid impeding work of emergency management and other response crews by trying to see the flood. Generally, help and volunteers will be requested during the event utilizing the notification systems above.

After the Flood

  • It is important that you re-enter your home only after local officials have informed you it is safe to do so. It is critical that you check for structural damage before entering. If you need assistance with a safety inspection, you may request one by contacting City Hall at (509) 382-2361. City staff will coordinate with the building official to schedule your inspection.
  • If you have any propane or other gas lines, disconnect them and disengage your tank. Allow the house to air out before entering. Some gases are odorless and hazardous - do not take a chance, take precaution.
  • If you have flood insurance, it is critical to contact your insurance agency as soon as possible. It is recommended to do so before re-entering your home, so they can clearly define the requirements they will have for you.
  • Once you re-enter your home, begin documenting immediately. Take note of all aspects of damage, losses, as well as photos and videos. You can begin the cleanup process after you document your losses. Additional guidance can be found here.
  • Be overly cautious when re-entering your home if your property was inundated by flood waters and electricity is still live. Request disconnection from your utility provider until initial assessments can be made to ensure safety.
  • Your house will need to be dried out. Drywall and carpet are predictable in holding moisture. It will take time and effort. Open all exterior doors and windows if conditions and weather permit so, and leave all interior doors open to promote air flow. Open kitchen cabinets, remove drawers and allow them to air dry on counters. Open the attic access (if available) to promote additional air flow. If electricity is available use fans if you have them.
  • It is important to remember that flood water is dirty and filled with contaminants. Soft surfaced materials (i.e. curtains, mattresses, clothing) should be removed and cleaned immediately, is possible. Items lost due to contamination need to be tracked and documented. The CDC offers additional information on the safety hazards associated with flood waters. Take precaution in all cases.
  • The rehabilitation process can be daunting. Any drywall, fibrous insulation, carpet and floor padding, flooded electrical receptacles, etc., affected by floodwaters have to be removed. It is recommended that you utilize plastic tarps to protect salvageable materials. FEMA has prepared a reference guide for this process.
  • Building permits are required for any work associated with rehabilitating after a flood. Permit fees may be waived (recommendation will be made by staff but is pending City Council approval). 
  • If utilities were lost during the flood, contact the utility provider for information on how to re-establish services. This can include: City Water & Sewer, electricity, etc.

Additional Guidance

Meagan Bailey, Director of Planning & Community Development and Certified Floodplain Manager (CFM), is available for help. This can include guidance on permitting, information on resources, and safety inspections with the Building Official. It is important for everyone to know that rehabilitating after this flood is a top priority. Email is the easiest way to communicate in some circumstances, and if assistance is needed (weekends or evenings included) send an email and staff will contact you ASAP.

Contact Meagan Bailey, CFM

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Cell phone available upon request and need.

Additional Resources

Substantial Damage - What does it Mean?

NFIP (National Flood Insurance Policy) Guidance

After a Flood - the First Steps

Advice for Salvaging

Contact Meagan Bailey through the methods above for additional resources, printed copies of guidance materials, or any other assistance you might need as you begin rehabilitation.

2/8/20 - 8:45 pm, MB