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Spring Flooding Danger

"Road Closed Ahead--Flood" signs in front of flood zone

FEMA says that property damage resulting from floods is more costly than any other disaster.

As rivers swell from snow-pack runoff and rainstorms become more prevalent, many communities are in great danger of spring flooding. In fact, in western states affected by wildfires where vegetation has burned, heavy rainfall is more likely than usual to lead to floods.

 

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) recently worked together to promote Flood Awareness Week, held March 14 through 18. According to FEMA, floods cause more monetary damage to property than any other natural disaster. To help, FEMA offers a great flood-cost calculator tool that details damaged areas.

How to prevent flood damage:

  • Low-lying homes and low-rise buildings can be raised to literally stand above flood waters. While this is certainly a costly fix, it is very effective.
  • Electrical panels and water heaters can be elevated, where feasible, to lessen potential fire and associated damage.
  • Landscaping and the overall slope of land should be considered. Owners should consider whether there is any way to divert water flow to prevent flash floods.
  • Flood alerts should be heeded.
  • Waterproofing compound can be used to seal basements in order to prevent seeping water.

Other smart tips for mitigating damage:

  • Store important documents on the highest floor or on raised bookshelves attached to the wall. Don’t put them in basement storage areas! Also, consider investing in waterproof containers which can withstand sustained soaking.
  • Fuel tanks can tip over or float during a flood. As if cleaning up water is not difficult enough, taking care of 100 gallons of fuel oil can be a nightmare. To prevent this situation, anchor fuel tanks properly. This will also lessen the risk of fires.
  • Check your sewer system for a back-flow valve that will prevent sewer waste from coming into your home or business.

What are the risks to structures?

  • With good reason, water is known as the “universal solvent.” Floods cause massive property damage by degrading foundations and crippling walls—making structures uninhabitable.
  • Long-term problems such as mold accumulation are very costly to fix. So take the time to adequately dry and inspect all areas of your building after floods to keep mold from growing. You might even find it necessary to bring on a specialist to check HVAC systems. Otherwise, damp areas can become fertile breeding ground for mold colonies.

Safety tips:

  • Don’t cross a flooded river or any area with fast-moving water. Cars and people can be carried away very quickly by rising floods.
  • Pay attention to flash flood warnings. A few minutes of preparation might save your life.
  • Be especially vigilant about using electricity during and after a flood. Turning off electricity is recommended once flooding has begun. When in doubt, consult the power company to investigate your home or office building to ensure safety after flooding resides.

Floods are especially damaging disasters as they present a host of both short and long-term risks to both personal property and individual safety. While large scale floods are not avoidable, smaller floods may be prevented if proactive steps are taken to decrease the damage and protect loved ones as well as valued possessions.

Proper planning and learning what ‘to do’ are the keys to managing any situation when disaster strikes.  For the latest emergency management training for facility/building managers, contact Allied Universal, Inc. Our new Version 2.0 e-based training system offers the best emergency training system with automated and integrated features. Visit rjwestmore.com for more information and remember to BE SAFE.

 

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