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What To Do - Before the Flood

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  • Get flood insurance. Only flood insurance covers flooding and provides year-round financial protection and improves your ability to quickly recover when severe storms strike and cause unexpected flooding. Call your local insurance agent or 1-800-720-1090 to reach specialists with the National Flood Insurance Program.
  • Before or during heavy rain, remove debris, such as leaves, sticks and litter, from sewer structures in your area to allow the water to enter.
  • Remove toxic substances as pesticides and insecticides from the areas prone to flooding to prevent pollution and extensive clean up later.
  • Install check valves in building sewer traps to prevent flood water from backing up into the drains of your home.
  • Home Sandbagging

    • Determine an emergency meeting location for your family in the event of a flood. Provide your insurance agent, employer, and family members with emergency contact information so that you can be reached before, during, and after a flood.
    • Store important documents in a waterproof container, including insurance information, vehicle titles, and receipts and warranties for major appliances.
    • Keep a NOAA Weather Radio, a battery-powered portable radio, emergency cooking equipment, and flashlights in working order.
    • Prepare a Go Bag with items you may need if you must leave your home. Be prepared to improvise and use what you have on hand to make it on your own for at least three days and maybe longer. Include items such as fresh water, food and prescription medications.
    • Raise water heater and electric panel to higher floors or the attic if they are in areas of your home that may be flooded.
    • Protect your HVAC equipment. This can be done in two ways: elevate the equipment or leave the equipment where it is and build a concrete or masonry block flood wall around it.
    • Use temporary barriers such as sandbags to stop floodwater from entering the building. A more permanent barrier may require special permits.
    • Seal walls in basements with waterproofing compounds to avoid seepage. Install a sump pump if you don't have one. If you do have one, make sure to also secure a backup replacement and have it on hand. During heavy flooding sump pumps work continuously and are more prone to failure.
    • Keep an adequate supply of food, flashlights, batteries, and drinking water in case you are trapped inside your home.
    • Properly anchor outdoor fuel tanks (propane, diesel and oil). Unanchored fuel tanks can be easily moved by floodwater. Floating and/or damaged tanks pose serious threats to not only you, your family, and your house, but also to public safety and the environment.
    • Green space that includes trees, plants, and grass, can absorb or slow down the rush of water in a heavy rain. If possible, plant trees and plants, especially those with deep roots, and avoid paving over green space on your property.