According to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), everyone lives in a flood zone. Even those who don't live near water are at risk, because anywhere it rains, it can flood. Heavy rains, clogged or insufficient drainage systems, nearby construction projects, broken water mains and inadequate levees and dams can cause flooding that put your home and belongings at risk.
Your home is one of your greatest investments. It's important to prepare ahead should disaster occur. Here are three simple steps to help make sure you're ready in the event of a flood.
- Create a "flood file" and keep it in an accessible waterproof and fireproof container. It should contain a personal property inventory of your home, a copy of your insurance information, copies of any critical personal documents (e.g. social security cards, titles and deeds), and a CD backup of computer documents and digital photos.
- Prepare your home by making sure your sump pump works and has a battery backup, your gutters and downspouts are clear, your electronics and appliances are elevated, and any valuables and keepsakes are moved to a higher level.
- Develop an emergency plan that includes evacuation routes from home, work and school. Make sure that plan includes an out-of-town contact list that all family members can call in case you get separated. Also, create an emergency kit with extra drinking water, non-perishable food, first-aid materials, blankets, a battery-powered radio, a flashlight, and extra batteries that can be grabbed easily if you need to evacuate.
It's important to know that most home policies don't cover flooding and just a few inches of water damage can cost thousands. To get an idea of what flooding can do, check out this interactive tool.