It takes 30 days after purchase for a policy to take effect, so it’s important to buy insurance before the floodwaters start to rise
In 2004, one-third of all claims paid by the National Flood Insurance Program were for policies in low-risk communities
Your home has a 26% chance of being damaged by a flood during the course of a 30-year mortgage, compared to a 9% chance of fire
Just an inch of water can cause costly damage to your property
A car can easily be carried away by just two feet of floodwater
Winter storms and snowmelt are common (but often overlooked) causes of flooding
Federal disaster assistance is usually a loan that must be paid back with interest
What To Do Before a Flood
Prepare Your House
Make sure your sump pump is working
Clear debris from gutters and downspouts
Anchor any fuel tanks
An unanchored tank in your basement can be torn free by floodwaters and the broken supply line can contaminate your basement
An unanchored tank outside can be swept downstream, where it can damage other houses
Have a licensed electrician raise electric components (switches, sockets, circuit breakers and wiring) at least 12” above your home’s projected flood elevation
Place the furnace and water heater on masonry blocks or concrete at least 12” above the projected flood elevation
Keep an inventory of all valuables. Include their age and value. If possible, keep the original purchase receipts for verification.
Safeguard Your Possessions
Make sure any photos or videos of all your important possessions are in a safe place. These documents will help you file a full flood insurance claim.
Store important documents and irreplaceable personal objects (such as photographs) where they won’t get damaged
If major flooding is expected, move furniture and valuables to the upper levels of your home and move your vehicles to high ground
Develop a Family Emergency Plan
Post emergency telephone numbers by the phone. Teach children to dial 911.
Plan and practice a flood evacuation route with your family
Ask an out-of-city or state relative or friend to be the “family contact” in case your family is separated during a flood. Make sure everyone in the family knows the name, address, and phone number of this contact person.
Have a plan for your pets.
What To Do During a Flood
Fill bathtubs, sinks and jugs with clean water in case water becomes contaminated
Listen to a battery or hand-crank operated radio for the latest storm information
If local authorities instruct you to do so, turn off all utilities at the main power switch and close the main gas valve
If told to evacuate your home, do so immediately
If the waters start to rise inside your house before you have evacuated, retreat to the second floor, the attic, or if necessary, the roof
Floodwaters may carry raw sewage, chemical waste and other disease-spreading substances. If you’ve come in contact with floodwaters, wash your hands with soap and disinfected water.
Avoid walking through floodwaters. As little as six inches of moving water can knock you off your feet.
Electric current passes easily through water, so stay away from downed power lines and electrical wires.
Animals lose their homes in floods, too. Be aware that even domesticated animals may be confused and unpredictable in a flood situation.
Each year, more deaths occur due to flooding than from any other severe weather related hazard. The Centers for Disease Control report that over half of all flood-related drownings occur when a vehicle is driven into hazardous flood water. The next highest percentage of flood-related deaths is due to walking into or near flood waters.
The main reason is people underestimate the force and power of water. Many of the deaths occur in automobiles as they are swept downstream. Of these drownings, many are preventable, but too many people continue to drive around the barriers that warn you the road is flooded.
The reason that so many people drown during flooding is because few of them realize the incredible power of water. A mere six inches of fast-moving flood water can knock over an adult. It takes only two feet of rushing water to carry away most vehicles. This includes pickups and SUVs.
If you come to an area that is covered with water, you will not know the depth of the water or the condition of the ground under the water. This is especially true at night, when your vision is more limited. Play it smart, play it safe. Whether driving or walking, any time you come to a flooded road,
Teach your children to never play in or near storm pipes, inlets, creeks and ditches. Sudden heavy rainfall can send torrents of fast-moving water into these structures. The suction and force that is sometimes created could be extremely dangerous to anyone caught in the powerful current.
If you observe a pipe or inlet that is clogged with debris, please do NOT attempt to clear the obstruction yourself, especially during rain. The sudden suction caused by the release of the clog could cause you to be swept into the intake in the strong current. Call 352-4900 any time for assistance. You can also report clogged or damaged inlets by email.
Please do not use storm pipes and inlets to dispose of garbage, yard wastes, or anything that could block the entrance of storm water. It is very important to keep these pipes open and clear so they can do what they were designed to do – protect you and your property.
What To Do After a Flood
If your home has suffered damage, call the agent who handles your flood insurance to file a claim. If you are unable to stay in your home, let the agent know where you can be reached.
Check for structural damage before reentering your home. You want to make sure your home is safe.
Take photos of any water in the house and save damaged personal property.
This will make filing a claim easier
If necessary, place these items outside the home
An insurance adjuster will need to see what has been damaged in order to process your claim
Make a list of damaged or lost items and include their age and value where possible
Prevent mold by removing wet contents immediately
Wet carpeting, furniture, bedding, and any other items holding moisture or water inside the building can develop mold within 24 to 48 hours
Items should be cleaned with a phenolic or pine-oil cleaner and bleach solution, completely dried, and monitored for several days for any fungal growth or odors
If any mold develops, throw the items away
Do not use matches, cigarette lighters or other open flames upon reentering your property
Gas may be trapped inside
If you smell gas or hear a hissing, open a window, leave quickly and call the gas company from a neighbor’s home
Keep power off until an electrician has inspected your system for safety
Avoid using toilets and the tap until you have checked for sewage and water line damage. If you suspect damage, call a plumber.
Throw away any food including canned goods that have come in contact with floodwaters
Boil water for drinking and food preparation until local authorities declare your water supply to be safe