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What You Need To Know About Flooding

flooded home

You don't have to live in a flood plain to be at risk. Flooding can occur at any place and at any time. The following list, prepared by The Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety, offers valuable tips for protecting your home before and after a flood to minimize damage.

Prepare – When flooding is imminent

  • Clear drains, gutters and downspouts of debris so they can channel rainwater away from your home.
  • Roll up area rugs and carpeting and store these on higher floors or elevations. This will reduce the chances of rugs getting wet and growing mold.
  • Move furniture and electronics off the floor or to higher floors and elevations, particularly if they are in basements and first floor levels.
  • Anchor fuel tanks. An unanchored tank can be torn free by floodwaters, and the broken supply line can cause contamination. If outdoors, fuel tanks can be swept downstream and damage other property.
  • Prepare an evacuation kit with important papers, insurance documents, medications and other things you may need if you are forced to be away from your home for several days.
  • Inspect sump pumps and drains to ensure proper operation. If a sump pump has a battery backup, make sure the batteries are fresh or replace the batteries.
  • Shut off electrical service at the main breaker if the electrical system and outlets will be under water.
  • Place all appliances, including stove, washer and dryer, on masonry blocks or concrete at least 12 inches above the projected flood elevation.

Respond – If time allows

  • Hire a licensed electrician to raise electric components (switches, sockets, circuit breakers and wiring) at least 12 inches above the expected flood levels for your area.
  • If flood waters enter the sewer system, sewage can back up and enter your home. To prevent this, hire a licensed plumber to install an interior or exterior backflow valve. Check with your building department for permit requirements.
  • Make sure your yard's grading (slope) directs water away from the building.
  • Have the installation of your furnace, water heater and other permanent equipment modified so that they are elevated above the expected flood levels for your area.

Recover – After a flood

  • As soon as it is safe to do so, disconnect all electronics/electrical equipment and move them to a dry location.
  • Remove as much standing water as possible from inside the building.
  • Remove water-damaged materials immediately.
  • Ventilate with fans or use dehumidifiers to dry out the house.
  • Acting quickly can increase the chance of salvaging usable materials; reduce the amount of rust, rot and mold that might develop; and limit the likelihood of structural problems.

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