Emergencies can happen anytime, anywhere. Families may not be together and you may not have access to cell phones, gas stations, grocery stores or some of the other things that you are used to having every day. By taking a few simple steps now, each of us can make sure we are better prepared for the next emergency or disaster.
Every area and every disaster is different.
Floods are the most common severe weather-related disaster in the U.S., but one that many assume will affect the “other guy.” With their risks misunderstood or ignored, floods also are the most expensive and deadly natural disasters. From rapid snowmelt to burst dams, hurricanes to major rainstorms, flooding affects many. But, floods don’t have to be catastrophic to do harm. Just a few inches of water can cause thousands of dollars in damages.
And typical homeowners insurance does not cover flood damage.
Here’s what you can do to help protect yourself:
• Check the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration / National Weather Service Interactive Flood Information Map. It features searchable data about floods over the past few years; offers tips on what to do before, during and after a flood; and encourages flood insurance protection.
• Learn what a flood could cost you. Check out the interactive tool and learn more about the Flood Insurance Protection Program at www.floodsmart.gov. What may surprise you is that areas susceptible to flooding can change each year.
• Check with your insurance agent to see what is covered in your present policy and if you need flood insurance. Most policies take 30 days to become effective.
• Make sure your sump pump works. Install a battery backup.
• Raise electrical components. Have your furnace, water heater, washer and dryer set at least a foot above any possible flood waters.
• Consider waterproofing your basement. Check your basement drainage systems for blockages.
• Clear the drainage outlets and fix any eroding foundation walls.
• Keep gutters clear.
• Consider certified flood vents that prevent water pressure buildup, thereby reducing structural damage and costly repairs.
If you are in an area where dry or drought conditions persist or occur at certain times, prepare for possible wildfires. Firewise, a program of the National Fire Protection Association in cooperation with the U.S. Forest Service and Department of the Interior, offers interactive educational tools and tips to prevent your house from burning down:
• Build new or retrofit with nonflammable materials. Particularly important: a noncombustible roof.
• Choose double-pane or tempered glass windows that typically better withstand a fire’s intense radiant heat.
• Select nonflammable siding or keep combustible materials away from your present siding.
• Keep the gutters and roof clean. Flying embers can ignite debris and spread fire to the house.
• Modify landscaping and materials storage to keep an area five feet from your house fuel-free.
• Within 30 feet of your home, keep the lawn well-watered and mowed.
• Consider xeriscaping, landscaping that focuses on drought-tolerant plants.
• Remove tree limbs that hang over your roof. High winds can knock flaming branches onto your home.
• Ensure your street number is clearly marked for emergency vehicles.
Flash flooding is the leading cause of weather-related deaths in the U.S.- approximately 200 deaths per year. Last year, there were 1,298,000 fires reported in the United States. These fires caused 3,275 civilian deaths, 15,775 civilian injuries, and $11.6 billion in property damage. Even more shocking? A fire department responded to a fire every 24 seconds and one structure fire was reported every 64 seconds.
Would you be prepared for a flood or fire? At Game Plan Preppers, we can help you develop a plan and provide you with items you will need to keep you and your loved ones safe and protected. For more information, contact us! Your safety is our number one priority!
In our second part of Preparing for Disasters series, we will cover how to prepare for a hurricane or earthquake.