There is nothing we can do to prevent natural disasters; however, there are things that are under our control. The same way a person who’s awaiting a hurricane can cover their windows with storm shutters and line sliding doors with sandbags, there are certain precautions you can take to minimize flood damage to your home.
If your home is still being built
If you’re lucky enough to build your home from scratch, keep in mind the following: installing electric outlets higher on the wall, building your home on a raised platform, installing tile flooring instead of hardwood or carpeting; and swales in your backyard and/or drainage on your driveway.
If you’re already living in your home
If your home is already built, you’ll have to make do with what you already have. However, you can do the following to protect your personal belongings: drive around your neighborhood if there’s a hurricane watch and make sure that all gutters are cleared of debris. It would be more practical to enlist your neighbors to help with this, since it would benefit everyone.
Shut off your electric breakers. If you have a basement, leave the windows partially open to prevent water pressure from breaking them. Place all of your important documents (birth certificates, Social Security cards, passports) in waterproof freezer bags. Take them with you if you’re evacuating. But you should always store them in those bags as a protective measure, in case you forget them. If you have a split level home, move electronics and appliances to the second level. Yes, it’s a pain to do so; but it would be worse to have to replace all of them.
After the flood
Never go inside a flooded home by yourself. Never turn back on the breakers. Wait for an electrician to come over and take care of it. Once an electrician has cleared you to do so, use shop-vac/wet vacuum to clear out water. It’s also handy to have a dehumidifier, to reduce the chances of mold growing in your home and the unpleasant smells associated with mildew. If you smell gas, leave immediately. Don’t try to figure out where the leak is coming from. Contact the gas company and/or police department, and allow them inspect your home before going back in.
Regardless of the circumstances, always familiarize yourself with the terms of your flood insurance policy. Just having a general one doesn’t mean you’d be adequately covered. And if you’re relying on FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program, be aware that they are in a dire financial situation. So be careful about putting all your eggs in that basket.
If you’re not even sure if you need flood insurance, contact us. At National Flood Experts, we can do a free evaluation of your property. Once you are better informed, we can advise you as to your alternatives.