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Last Updated on September 20, 2020 by Diane Hoffmaster
Summer rains on the way and hurricane season is just starting. Everyone needs to start thinking about how to prevent flood damage. Several years ago, Georgia was in the middle of one of the worst droughts in recorded history. The "people in charge" were measuring the amount of drinking water left in our lake in DAYS. There was no car washing, lawn watering, or filling of swimming pools allowed. People were going to the store and stocking up on bottled water for fear we would have no drinkable water soon. Then, the rains finally came. We were ecstatic. Until the rain showed no signs of stopping! What started as a blessing quickly became a gigantic nightmare. Rivers overflowed their banks and houses became submerged.
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I was at work for the day when my husband told me I needed to get home ASAP. The river that runs through our neighborhood had spilled over onto the road and would soon be impassable. By the time I made it home, my truck would not make it across the river running over the cement. I hitched a ride across with a very nice man in a jacked up 4 x 4 on his last trip across. The people behind me weren't quite as lucky. Some of them had to wait for helpful neighbors with kayaks to ferry them across! I was amazed at how quickly our area went from 'just a little rain' to 'completely impassable'. Mother Nature is truly an ominous force to reckon with!
There are a few things to keep in mind when you are a home buyer (and home owner) to help protect yourself from flood damage. I was lucky because my home is at the top of a hill and we were spared any significant flood damage. Others in the neighborhood were not so lucky. I never thought that our neighborhood would be at risk for flood damage but I will definitely be doing a bit more research next time I buy a home. If you are buying a home or just concerned about keeping your processions safe from flood damage, here are some things you need to know about how to prevent flood damage.
How to Prevent Flood Damage
The best way to prevent flood damage will depend on what stage of your life you are in. Here are a few things to keep in mind.
Before You Buy:
- Research Flood Zones: Talk to your real estate agent and make sure this is researched thoroughly!
- Look into flood insurance: While it may be a little pricey you will be happy to have it in case of emergency. You can find out more info by checking out the National Flood Insurance Program.
For Existing Homes
- Do a Home Inventory: This will help with filing insurance claims if you are the victim of flooding. Invest in some home inventory software to help you get organized.
- Protect Important Documents: Make copies of all important documents and keep them elsewhere. Keeping them in a bank safe deposit box is the best choice but if you a family member you completely trust nearby that is another option. You can also get a waterproof safe to keep at home.
- Improve Outdoor Drainage: Clear downspouts from leaves and other debris. Make sure you do not store junk, firewood, toys, etc in the path of water drainage. This will help keep water from pooling around your foundation. Consider getting your basement sealed to protect it from moisture.
- Raise electrical panels and utilities: This will probably require the assistance of a professional. Make sure electrical panels are high enough off the ground to avoid flood water and place water tanks and air conditioning units on block to avoid standing water.
- Develop an emergency plan: Make sure your children know what to do in case of flooding, This is important for other situations like fire or power outages. Have flashlights and a few days of emergency supplies packed up and ready to go if needed. Drinking water, canned food, first aid, blankets, and a radio are all good supplies for your emergency preparedness bucket.
- Post emergency numbers by the phone: This could include police, fire department, your veterinarian, and your insurance company.
- Buy a weather radio: Know the difference between a flood watch and a flood warning. A watch means flooding is possible. A warning means flooding is occurring or will occur soon in your area.
- Look Into Structural Changes: Raising your home on helical piles is one solution for safely securing your home above the flood stage.
When buying a home, try very hard to NOT buy one in a flood zone. If you DO purchase a home in a flood zone, learn how to prevent flood damage to both your home AND your belongings. Don't wait until the water is creeping in your living room before wondering how to prevent flood damage to your stuff!
Have any other flood damage protection tips?
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Diane is a professional blogger and nationally certified pharmacy technician at Good Pill Pharmacy. She has two college aged kids, one husband and more pets than she will admit to. She earned her BS in Microbiology at the University of New Hampshire but left her career in science to become a stay at home mom. Years of playing with LEGO and coloring with crayons had her craving a more grown up purpose to her life and she began blogging and freelance writing full time. You can learn more about her HERE.