Over 14 million households in the U.S are in flood-prone areas, which shows how many of us must be prepared for flooding.
Floods can have a devastating impact on our communities and homes, whether it’s structural damage or losing our most valuable belongings. But when we’re proactive and prepared, we increase the chances of protecting our property. Maybe that’s why you’re here; you’re worried about an upcoming flood and need a nudge in the right direction.
Sounds like you? No worries, we’ve got your back. Here’s how to prepare for a house flood.
Check Whether You’re in a Flood-Prone Area
The best way to be prepared for house flooding is to know whether you’re at risk. If you’re not sure, check the Federal Emergency Management Agency flood zone map to figure out which category your property falls in. This will tell you which actions to take to mitigate issues when a flood hits.
If you’re worried, develop an evacuation plan with your loved ones. Figure out the best route for leaving your neighborhood and decide where you’d go, such as heading to the elevated ground or another state. And don’t forget to create backup routes because the popular roads may be congested with other evacuees.
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Respond to Flood Alerts
Although it sounds obvious, you’d be surprised at how slow homeowners respond to home flood alerts. If a flood is imminent, you’ll receive notifications that will warn you to start preparing your home. Or, in the worst-case scenario, when you should start evacuating.
Have a Flood Checklist Ready
Every home that is at risk of flooding should have a checklist ready. This should include a list of must-dos, such as disconnecting appliances and turning off electrical systems because it’s a safety hazard. If it feels overwhelming, delegate tasks to your household and check that your family has completed them before the flood arrives.
Waterproof Your Basement
Interior and exterior drain tile systems play a crucial role in safeguarding a home from devastating floods. An interior drain tile system is installed beneath the basement floor, directing water away from the foundation and into a sump pit equipped with a sump pump. This system efficiently collects and redirects any water that enters the basement, preventing it from accumulating and causing damage.
By preventing water from going into the basement, exterior basement waterproofing can help protect the home and belongings from flood damage. It can also help prevent mold growth, which can occur when moisture is present. A professional can assess your home’s unique needs and recommend the best waterproofing solutions to protect your home from flood damage.
There’s nothing worse than a flooded basement, so consider this during your flood prep. Although it sounds difficult, simply clear your gutters and storm drains so it doesn’t seep into your home’s foundation. If you’re not sure where to start, enter “basement waterproofing near me” and reach out to the most reputable company.
Dry Proof Wherever Possible
Another way to prevent flooded houses is by dry proofing wherever you can. Note, this seals every room against flood waters by adding shields to your home’s opening. It’s also important to raise your door’s thresholds to reduce the risk of flooding.
Pack an Emergency Kit
Every household should have an emergency kit on hand, especially if you’ve received a flood alert. A good rule of thumb is to pack three days’ worth of food and water, but add more depending on how many are in your household. You should also add a flashlight, medication, and a portable power bank for your cellphone.
Elevate Electrical Components
Before buying a home in a flood-prone zone, evaluate where the electrical sockets and wiring are located. To be safe, these should be at least 12 inches above the average flood level. Although it can be fiddly to fix, this will keep your household safe and reduce the amount of flood damage.
If they’re not, turn off your home’s electrical system, so you’re not harmed during the disaster.
Take Household Inventory
Homeowners should always take inventory of major household items and valuables. Make sure that these images are safe, ideally on your smartphone or laptop. Then, if any of these get damaged or lost during the flood, it will help with your insurance claim.
Keep Important Documents Safe
Get in the habit of keeping important documents safe, especially if you’ve received a flood alert. This includes your household’s birth certificates, passports, and medical records. Aside from soft copies, it’s wise to invest in a watertight safety box.
Get Flood Insurance
Regardless of where you are, buying flood insurance is a must. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that regular homeowners’ insurance covers natural disasters because it doesn’t. Instead, get flood insurance for peace of mind.
Install Sump Pumps With Backup Power
If you haven’t already, get a sump pump for your basement and check that it is battery-operated or runs on a generator. This will continuously remove flood water from entering your basement, even if the electricity has been shut off. Note, it’s wise to hire an electrician to help you as they can evaluate your current system and recommend the best backup solution.
Use Sand Bags for Extra Protection
Houses in flood-prone areas should use sandbags as a preventative measure. Although they don’t protect your home entirely, they do reduce and direct flood water away from your doorways or windows. Because of this, make sure you safeguard all entryways and your home’s foundation and it will reduce the flood’s impact.
Install Backflow Valves to Your Drains and Toilet Connections
Homeowners should install backflow valves to prevent their sewage system from overflowing into their washing machines, sinks, and even bathtubs. If not, this can seep into your floors and basement, which can result in structural damage. To prevent any issues, reach out to a plumber and they can install valves or plugs.
You should also have a backup toilet for when the floods come. For instance, get a porta potty that your household can use before the water recedes. But you’ll likely need to develop a system to flush the toilet, such as using rainwater or floodwater in the tank.
Prepare for a House Flood Today
Hopefully, you’re now prepared for a house flood.
There are many factors to consider, such as waterproofing your basement and installing backflow valves to your drains. Homeowners should also install sump pumps and pack an emergency kit for peace of mind. Good luck!
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