As a business focusing on pumps, many of our customers are dealing with floods. Many are managing water in their homes & businesses with flooded basements or crawl spaces, and flooding of low-lying areas around town. Dealing with floods doesn’t just start when the water comes in; it’s something to be dealt with prior to the flooding event.
Mitigating the damage from a flood takes place along a timeline starting before you decide to locate through the flood cleanup and assessment of future mitigation.
As the most common natural disaster in the United States, floods can occur anywhere during any season. However, some areas are more prone to frequent flooding than others. When choosing where to live or set up your business, it’s important understand the risks posed by potential floods.
Low lying areas near rivers or lakes are especially susceptible. These areas are called floodplains. When melting snow or excess rainfall occurs, the additional water has nowhere to go but to fill the surrounding area. However, many communities are build on floodplains and are hit by damaging floods regularly.
Property on the coastline is also highly susceptible to flooding, especially in hurricane zones like Gulf states and the east coast. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) maintains a flood map which outlines at risk areas.
Before buying property, it’s important to know what you’re getting into. Researching the history of flooding and natural disasters of an area will give you a good sense of the risks posed.
Taking steps to flood proof your property is one of the most important steps. Elevating all electrical sockets, appliances, HVAC, and other critical utilities is highly recommended, especially for those in flood prone areas. Elevating the entire structure is also an option. Be sure to waterproof the your basement and check your sump pump frequently. Have a battery powered backup in case of a power outage.
Taking steps to ensure your sump pump functions properly is another crucial step. A tropical storm is no time to learn your pump is the wrong size or discharge pipes are clogged. Regular maintenance for your sump pump is imperative.
Owners are advised to test their pumps every 2-3 months. Checking outside to make sure the pump is actually discharging water, listening for any weird noises when it kicks on, and replacing the battery on your backup every couple of years are simple checks to make sure you’re in good order when water hits.
Having an exit strategy is crucial to safety and peace of mind. When floods hit, especially flash floods, there won’t be much time to get out if you need to. Know what roads are on the highest ground and least likely to be submerged. Get in touch with local officials regarding emergency plans and routing options.
Be sure to review your homeowners insurance policy. Most plans don’t include flood insurance so if you are considering property in an at risk area, be sure to talk to your agent about adding flood protection to your policy. The government requires that properties in designated flood zones that are purchased with a mortgage have flood insurance.
The U.S. Government also offers insurance plans for properties in designated high risk areas through the National Flood Insurance Program. However, even if your property is not in a designated flood zone, it would be worth your time to consider insurance. According to FEMA, 20% of flood claims come from property outside of high risk zones.
The first step in dealing with floods is understanding and preparing for the risks. Knowledge and planning are your best defenses when dealing with the impact of flooding. The time for this step comes well before the flooding starts. In our next articles, we’ll discuss what to do during a flood and recovering from a flood.