If one is now building their home, or considering purchasing one, it is necessary to know where the flood prone areas are in the vicinity. The local planning department should be able to help with this and may even have maps showing the areas of highest flooding. There is usually a high water line which represents the maximum height flood waters have gotten to previously. Try to build, or buy, above this line. While it’s true there’s no guarantee that subsequent floods won’t climb higher than this, it a least offers some level of protection.

If one already lives in a flood prone area there are still some things that can be done to mitigate the effects of flood damage. These include:

• Raising electrical outlets so there is less of a chance of them being affected by flood waters. This of course depends on how high the flood waters typically are.
• Sealing basements properly can reduce the likelihood of water seepage in the case of rising groundwater.
• Keeping valuables, including important papers and backups of computer files, in a waterproof container.
• Placing appliances on blocks, or elevating them by some other method, in cases where flooding is restricted to a few inches of water.
• Installation of a sewer backflow valve in the home.

One of the first systems to be affected by a flood is the sewage system. Having this back up into one’s home is not only disgusting but it also presents a health hazard.

Flood insurance is a necessity. In some areas, this may not be included in a general plan and one will have to pay extra. The cost of the premium will depend on how likely it is that flooding will occur. For example, low lying floodplain areas can be expected to carry very high premiums. Even if one doesn’t think the possibility of flooding is high, it is still better to have such a precaution in place than to have to deal with flood damage and not have any compensation to look forward to.

There’s no way to say with certainty that a particular area will never be hit by a flood. Flood damage can result from a number of factors, from changing weather patterns to unsafe disposal of garbage causing blockages in major waterways. Planning ahead is the key when it comes to dealing with flood damage. Knowing what can happen and how to deal with the possible consequences can go a long towards reducing anxiety should unfavorable conditions hit. Even if one can’t prevent flooding, it is at least possible to take all the necessary steps to ensure that the damage is kept to a minimum.

Updated: February 26, 2010 — 8:46 pm
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