How to prepare home for flooding
Flooding is a natural disaster that often strikes with little, if any, warning. The environmental awareness site Natural Rivers states that floods are the most common natural hazard in North America in terms of number of lives lost and property damage. Floods can occur day or night and any time of the year. Flooding can also occur in all different terrains.
In September 2018, many of the inland towns of North Carolina were flooded in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence, displacing millions. The following month saw severe flooding in central and southern Texas that prompted Gov. Greg Abbott to declare a state of disaster in 18 counties. AccuWeather reported in the summer of 2018 that historic flooding closed famed Hershey Park, shuttering attractions for a few days.
Flooding can cause considerable distress, uproot families and damage structures. But even people who live in flood zones can take steps to be flood-safe.
• Purchase flood insurance. Many people and properties are not covered for flooding under standard homeowners insurance policies. As a result, it is essential to purchase separate flood insurance. The home
improvement and information site HouseLogic says that flood insurance may be required by mortgage companies for those financing homes in flood plains.
• Have a “go bag” ready. This is a great idea in preparation for any type of emergency situation. Go bags can include a few changes of clothes, important documents and phone numbers, essential toiletries, extra cash and non-perishable foods. You may want to stock go bags with flashlights, batteries and waterproof shoes as well. Evacuate if a flood is predicted to be severe.
• Know your flood level. Check flood maps at the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s website (FEMA.gov) or your local building department. This will help you know just how high the water might rise in certain scenarios so you can plan accordingly.
• Safeguard key home systems. Protect sockets, switches, breakers, and wiring in a home by placing them at least one foot above the expected flood level in your area, offers the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety. Move the furnace, water heater and any other key appliances so they sit above the property’s flood level.
• Vent the water. Foundation vents, sump pumps, drains and more can help keep water from accumulating in or around the foundation of a home.
• Consider a grading change. The grading or slope of ground can be adjusted to direct water away from your home. If your street is prone to standing water after ordinary rainstorms, talk to your county planning or environmental services department about potential modifications.
• Prepare for the worst. Home piers or columns can lift the lowest floor of a home above flood level. It’s an expensive undertaking but can be worth it in high-flood areas.
Flooding is no joke. Homeowners can safeguard their homes with some protective steps.