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Assessing Flood Risk and Reducing Water Damage
By the RestorationSOS Educational Staff
What is important to know about floods is that they can happen anywhere. There is also no telling about the damage that they can cause. In fact, even a small amount of water such as inch of flooding can cause significant damage. The potential for devastation is one of the reasons why it is important to know the flood risks and what can be done to reduce the damage.
There are some neighborhoods or cities that are specially described as being on the flood zone. Properties are said to be in this location when their propensity for flooding is higher than others. If a property owner is unsure about whether or not the area is in a flood zone, ask the city building authority, township hall or the insurance agent. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) also has flood maps that can be consulted. FEMA also has a program called the National Flood Insurance Program. Flood insurance is available if the home is located in an area that participates in this particular program.
Analyzing the Area
A property owner should the aware of the base flood elevation, which refers to the elevation at which the home has a one percent chance of flooding each year. This figure may be obtained in building records or by hiring a surveyor to look at the property.
There are also places that are located in special flood hazard areas. The zoning usually depends on the features of the landscape. For example, those living in Zone A have their lowest floors set below the base flood elevation. They are also near bodies of water that can rise during a storm. On the other hand, Zone V properties are usually located near the ocean and are vulnerable to wind-driven waves.
Minimizing the Damage
There is very little that can be done about where the flood hits. However, this does not mean that property owners are rendered helpless. There are things that can be done in order to reduce the water damage that may occur.
The first thing that should be considered is the prevention aspect. Make sure that the drains, gutters, and other similar devices are working properly. If a storm warning is issued, prepare the property by rolling up rugs, keeping valuable furniture on higher floors, and storing valuables in higher places such as shelves and the upper floors. The sump pump should also have a battery backup to keep it from failing even if the power fails. Finally, it is important for the family to have an emergency kit handy, especially for those who live in flood-prone areas.
Dealing with the Aftermath
As soon as it is safe, disconnect the appliances and move it to a secure location. The house should be dried out by removing the water and increasing ventilation. By acting quickly, the impact of the water damage can be minimized and more items can be repaired and restored. It is also vital to consult with the insurance company as soon as possible.
Flood Insurance 101: An Introduction
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