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Preparing for a Flood
By the RestorationSOS Educational Staff
Floods are the single most common natural disaster in the country, occurring in all fifty states, year round, and for any variety of reasons. Floods may be minor events or major catastrophes, affecting part of one home or stretching across state lines, but however they happen, they are likely to leave behind considerable damage.
It is not always possible to prevent a flood from happening or to prevent damage from being done as a result; however, it is possible to mitigate the effects of a flood through proper education and preparation. The flood preparation process should begin as soon as you move into your new home.
Are You in a Flood Zone?
First, you need to contact the local county geologist or county planning department and see whether or not your home is located in or near a flood plain or within a flash flood-prone area. Some counties may refer you to local emergency management offices for this information. Take the time you are there to learn about your new community’s emergency plans, warnings, alerts, evacuation routes, and the location of the nearest emergency shelters.
Map out an evacuation route, and make sure your family is familiar with it. Have a meeting place established just in case you happen to become separated and have an out of state family contact. Everybody should be familiar with the plan, the directions, and the contact information.
Become familiar with how to turn off all utilities at their source and be ready to do so in the event of a flood threat. If there are any structurally unstable materials on the premises, make sure they are secured before you evacuate. Loose items can cause damage.
Home Modifications to Help with Flooding
Consider installing a sump pump in your basement and be sure it comes equipped with backup power in the event of an outage. Similarly, install backflow valves or plugs on all drains, toilets, and sewer connections to prevent sewage from backing up into your home.
All electrical components on the lower floors should be raised up ten to twelve inches to keep them out of reach of flood water. This includes power outlets, circuit breakers, and electrical boxes. This work should be done by a qualified electrician.
If a flood warning is announced, begin the evacuation process. Make sure your property is secure and then move to higher ground. Make sure your car's gas tank is full if there is a flood warning. It is recommended to keep a close eye on weather conditions and leave before the official evacuation notice is given. This may prevent being held up by a heavy traffic flow along evacuation routes.
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