1. Avoid building in a floodplain unless you elevate and reinforce your home or building. Be sure to elevate the furnace, water heater and electric panel is susceptible to flooding. Install “check valves” in sewer traps to prevent flood water from backing up in to the drains in your home. Construct barriers (levees, beams, floodwalls) to stop floodwater from entering your home or building. Seal basement walls with waterproofing compounds to avoid seepage.
2. Flood losses are not covered under homeowners’ insurance policies. Flood insurance is available whether the structure is in or out of the identified flood-prone area. There is a 30-day waiting period before flood insurance goes into effect, so don’t delay.
During possible flooding
1. Listen to the radio or television for information. People living in low lying areas along or adjacent to lakes, rivers or streams should be prepared to move to higher ground if there is any possibility of flooding or flash flooding. If you must prepare to evacuate, move essential items to an upper floor, disconnect electrical appliances; turn off utilities at the main switches or valves if instructed to do so. If you have to leave your home, do not walk through moving water. Six inches of moving water can cause you to lose your balance. Walk only where the water is not moving and use a stick to check the firmness of the ground in front of you.
People traveling in a car, truck or other vehicle should avoid areas affected by flash flooding rather than attempt to cross it. More than half of all deaths attributed to flash flooding are people swept away in vehicles when trying to pass through standing water. Unfortunately, many deaths occur when someone knowingly drives around a barricade indicating the road is washed out ahead. Six inches of water will reach the bottom of most passenger cars causing loss of control and possible stalling. One foot of water will float many vehicles. As little as two feet of rushing water can carry away most vehicles, including sports utility vehicles (SUV’s) and pick-ups.
Myth #1: It’s OK to Drive Across a Flooded Roadway if it Doesn’t Look Too Deep
Never attempt to cross a flooded road, even if it seems shallow. Water can conceal dips, or worse, flood waters can damage roadways, washing away the entire road surface and a significant amount of ground. According to the National Weather Service, most flood related deaths happened while driving.
Myth #2: Playing in Flood Water is a Safe Tradition
While playing in water can be a lot of fun, flood water can contain unknown contaminants such as oil and other waste that can impact health. Additionally, do not try to cross moving water on foot. As little as a few inches of flowing water can knock adults off their feet.
Myth #3: Flooding Only Impacts Properties Near Rivers
Floods can impact properties no matter where they are located, but especially in a low-lying area, near water or downstream from a dam. Even very small streams, gullies, creeks, culverts, dry streambeds or low-lying ground that appears harmless in dry weather can flood. Keep storm drains clear to help combat localized flooding and monitor conditions closely during rain events.