In the wake of the Hurricane Harvey tragedy there are things to learn about how to best protect yourself from a flood. While the reality is that higher ground is the most surefire solution to avoiding a flood, this is not a reality for many people. The other sad truth is that flood insurance often isn’t offered into home insurance packages. So here are a few tips on what to do preemptively so that you can make the best out of a worst case scenario.
Find out your flood level. Have an expert over to identify where the water level would rise in your home.
Then raise all electric, wiring and circuit breakers above the flood line. If you can modify any anchored equipment like water heaters and furnaces, do so.
Outside equipment like air-conditioners, fuel tanks and generators need to be raised above the flood lines too. Additionally, these need to be anchored in a way so as to avoid a floating fuel tank should tragedy strike because ground contamination can occur should it break free.
Check out the website for Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH) - http://www.flash.org/
This organization does an excellent job of detailing they myriad ways you can modify water valves with interior or exterior backflow valves. You do NOT want to get into a scenario where the flood overcomes your sewage system and your up-to-your knees in $h!t. Avoid this situation at all costs!
Figure out how water flows around your property. A simple rainy day can alert you to water flow direction. Get in touch with the county planning or environmental services department to pick their brains about ways to angle groundwater away from your home.
FLASH recommends the following if there’s no possible way to move and your home is flood-prone.
Opt for a major retrofit
If your home floods frequently and moving isn't an option, you may need to take drastic and costly measures.
FLASH's home safety program suggests 3 options:
- Raise your home on piers or columns so that the lowest floor is above the flood level. If that sounds expensive -- well, it would be. Experts tell FLASH that such an undertaking would cost $20,000 and up, Chapman-Henderson says.
- "Wet-proof" your home by installing foundation vents that would allow water to flow through the building, instead of rising inside and causing more damage. You'd need at least 2 vents on different walls. A 1,000-square-foot house would require 7 square feet of flood vents, according to FLASH.
- Do some "dry proofing" by applying coatings and other sealing materials to your walls to keep out floods.
Finally, should floodwaters start to rise there are things to be done immediately. Move furniture, rugs, electronics and other belongings off the floor.
Clean gutters, drains and downspouts.
Shut off the electricity!
Elevate major appliances that are in harm’s way.
Although we can hope and pray that no tragedy like this befalls you, Mother Nature at times refuses those wishes. Thus, the best protection you can offer you home and family is to take as many precautions as you can and to have a viable plan of action.
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