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Thursday, April 30, 2009

Prepare Your Home for a Flood

Floods have been in the news a lot in the recent years, especially in 2008, and before that, fallout from Hurricane Katrina. They are a very common natural disaster, killing many people and costing a ton of money. Prepare!

  • The waters of the floods aren’t the only problem – it can uproot trees, move houses and boulders, and cause slides.

  • Check with your local planning and zoning office to see if you’re in a flood plain – above or below the flood level. See also if your area has ever been involved with flooding (a history).

  • Contact your insurance company, depending on the answers you get on the above question. Most homeowner’s insurance does not include flood insurance.

  • Find out what the warning signs are in your area in case of floods. Remember rivers and streams can also flood.

  • Learn your area’s evacuation plan.

  • Keep your important papers (insurance policies, birth certificates, passports, will, etc.) in a waterproof box or bags where you can easily access them. This would be a good item for your 72-hour kit/bug-out bag.

  • If you live in a flood area, and your furnace, water heater and/or electricity panel is in the basement or first floor, move it to the attic or second floor where it will be less likely to be damaged by flood.

  • Prevent floodwater from backing into your drains by plugging sewer traps with check valves.

  • Check with your planning and zoning commission to see if you can build flood walls or other barriers to stop water from getting to your home.

  • Protect basement walls by waterproofing walls and windows, especially cracks.

  • Keep a battery-operated or hand-crank radio handy.

  • Discuss a meeting place with family so you will all meet at the same place. This could be across the street at the top of the park, or in another town.

  • Prepare your 72-hour evacuation kit / bug-out bag. Check your supplies regularly.

  • Don’t get in the floodwater, if at all possible. It most likely contains sewer water, snakes, and depending on where you are, alligators. Plus, it could be moving much faster than you might see.

  • Don’t drive in the floodwaters. Even a heavy vehicle could get swept away before you realize it.

  • Stock up on empty sandbags and learn / practice filling them.

Did I forget anything? Would love to hear from flood survivors!


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