Hurricane season is upon us and with these storms comes the threat of flooding. Unfortunately, tropical storms can also be unpredictable and their path, intensity, and possible damages are hard to determine ahead of time. The best thing you can do if you are in a hurricane risk area is to always be prepared for these storms and the flooding they can bring. We have some tips to help you keep your family and home stay protected this hurricane season.
Before the Storm
Know Your Risk
If you live in a state that has experienced hurricanes in the past, you are at risk of being impacted by one in the future. However, depending on where your home is located the risks are different. If you are located closer to the coast, your biggest concern should be storm surge. As we move more inland, your preparation should focus on heavy rainfall with wind gusts. Knowing which conditions of a hurricane are more likely to impact your property will help you properly prepare. It is also important to know the elevation of your property, which will directly affect your flood risk. You can visit www.myfloodrisk.org to check the flood risk factors of your home.
Insure Your Property
One of the most important steps to take before a storm is to review your insurance coverage to make sure you are protected from any damage a hurricane might bring. A standard home insurance policy will not cover flooding or storm surge, two of the most dangerous and destructive effects of a hurricane. A standalone flood insurance policy is needed to protect your assets. When a storm is forecast to make landfall in your area it becomes more difficult to find coverage, so it’s necessary to check your policies ahead of time.
Prepare Your Home
Flood waters are extremely damaging, but there are some things you can do to reduce the impact to your home. Clean out any drains and gutters on your property, this will allow water to flow freely through these systems. Sandbags can be used as a flood barrier by diverting water from flowing through openings and diverting flood water around the structure. To reduce damage to your belongings, lift all furniture from ground level using concrete blocks. It’s also important to make sure electronics are unplugged if they could come into contact with water.
Have a Safety Kit
Every hurricane season you should stock a safety kit to prepare for every scenario that could happen during a storm. You will need food and water, enough to last each household member at least a few days. Your kit should also contain flashlights, batteries, a portal cell phone charger and a battery-operated radio, so you can still listen to news reports should the power go out. Any first aid and personal hygiene products needed should be included as well. Important documents such as insurance papers and important personal documents should be stored in a watertight case such as your dishwasher or washing machine.
During and After the Storm
Do not go outside during the hurricane or immediately after until your local authorities say it is safe and the storm conditions have passed. There might be damage outside that you are unaware of and wind gusts will continue from the outer bands of the storm, which could lead to debris becoming airborne. Also if it’s still raining there is always the risk of flash flooding, which is extremely dangerous to get caught in.
Don’t Go in the Water
Flood water is full of contaminants from debris, sewage, animals and other pollutants. It’s important to your health that you avoid flood water if possible. Hurricanes often lead to downed power lines and power outages, these powerlines can be hidden by flood waters and electrically charge the water.
Contact Your Insurance Agent
If you have flood damage from the storm, contact your National Flood Insurance agent as soon as possible. Your agent can help you with the claim process and what to do first to prevent further damage to your home.