After getting flood insurance, there are several things you can do to minimize losses in your home and ensure your family's safety.
- Safeguard your possessions.
Create a personal flood file containing information about all your possessions and keep it in a secure place, such as a safe deposit box or waterproof container. This file should have:
- A copy of your insurance policies with your agents contact information.
- A household inventory: For insurance purposes, be sure to keep a written and visual (i.e., videotaped or photographed) record of all major household items and valuables, even those stored in basements, attics or garages. Create files that include serial numbers and store receipts for major appliances and electronics. Have jewelry and artwork appraised.
These documents are critically important when filing insurance claims. For more information visit www.knowyourstuff.org.
Copies of all other critical documents, including finance records or receipts of major purchases.
- Prepare your house.
First make sure your sump pump is working and then install a battery-operated backup, in case of a power failure. Installing a water alarm will also let you know if water is accumulating in your basement.
- Clear debris from gutters and downspouts.
- Anchor any fuel tanks.
- Raise your electrical components (switches, sockets, circuit breakers, and wiring) at least 12 inches above your home's projected flood elevation.
- Place the furnace, water heater, washer, and dryer on cement blocks at least 12 inches above the projected flood elevation.
- Move furniture, valuables, and important documents to a safe place.
- Develop a family emergency plan.
- Create a safety kit with drinking water, canned food, first aid, blankets, a radio, and a flashlight.
- Post emergency telephone numbers by the phone and teach your children how to dial 911.
- Plan and practice a flood evacuation route with your family. Know safe routes from home, work, and school that are on higher ground.
- Ask an out-of-state relative or friend to be your emergency family contact.
- Do you live in or visit urbanized areas?
If so, you probably have experienced, or will experience, stormwater flooding.
Know your risk, know your role and take action to reduce your risk.
- What is Stormwater Flooding?
Localized flooding occurs in both urban and nonurban areas during or after a storm. Any storm, particularly slow-moving, steady rain storms, can overwhelm drainage systems. When the system backs up, pooling water can flood streets, yards and even the lower floors of homes and businesses. Even less intense storms can cause this type of flooding when leaves, sediment and debris plug storm drains.
Localized flooding poses most of the same problems caused by larger floods, but typically impacts fewer people and affects geographically smaller areas. Flooding of this type tends to recur year after year. The aftermath can mean costly damage to homes and property. In many cases, stormwater flooding can easily be avoided by keeping stormdrains clear of debris, so the stormwater system can function properly.
How Can It Affect YOU?
Storm water flooding frequently causes property damage and traffic congestion. Keeping storm drains clear of leaves and debris so the system can perform its task is the responsibility of residents and business owners.
- Know your risk and take action to reduce your risk.
- Stay away from rising creeks, streams and rivers.
- "Turn Around, Don't Drown"™. Don't drive through water on the roadway; during floods, more people are trapped and die in their vehicles than anywhere else.
- Know how to leave the area quickly if you see water start to rise.
- Be aware of your surroundings and know your evacuation routes.
- Do not attempt to cross flowing water that may be more than six inches deep. If you have doubts, don't cross.
- Have an emergency preparedness kit. (Red Cross PDF for developing a kit)
- Choose a family meeting place and have a plan for how to communicate during an emergency.
- If you live in a flood-prone area, consider buying flood insurance.
- During threatening weather, listen to local radio or TV news channels for watch and warning bulletins:
- Flood Watch means it is possible that flooding will occur in a specified area. Be alert and prepared for a flood emergency.
- Flood Warning means flooding is occurring or is imminent in a specified area. Move to safe ground immediately.
More information about flood types and flood preparedness can be found at the following websites:
- My Hazards: http://myhazards.calema.ca.gov/
- Flood Risk Notification: http://www.water.ca.gov/myfloodrisk/
- Flood SMART: http://www.floodsmart.gov/floodsmart/
- National Weather Service- "Turn Around, Don't Drown"™: http://www.nws.noaa.gov/os/water/tadd/
- American Red Cross: http://www.redcross.org/prepare/location/home-family
> Flood Fighting Methods (pdf)