While the weather forecast does not specifically predict where storms might strike, weather officials are still urging all Floridian residents to prepare early than expected for any tropical storm or hurricane. Eventually, every hurricane or storm comes with heavy rainfall and subsequently mass flooding which can cause evacuations and heavy property damage.
ServiceMaster by Disaster Relief has been serving Floridian residents for 30 years, and long has been trusted when it comes to disaster restoration services. ServiceMaster shares some unique tips in preparation for a flood.
Pre-Season Preparation Stage
Make a Program and Research in Advance
Most Floridians survive hurricane flooding by having an anti-hurricane program which includes flooding. Preparation is the key to any natural disaster. Research in advance whether your area is prone to flooding through Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) online flood maps, showing risk levels and locations in specific geographic areas, or calling your county planning division to get an assessment of flood risk areas.
Next, talk to your neighbors for they are more knowledgeable with flood experiences in the area, interview them about how high was the last time it flooded and get some tips what they had done. Moreover, it is advisable to make a list of a questionnaire in detail, so you can make an early preparation with good judgment in advance. Advanced know-how helps a lot in making emergency preparation and most of all, it will give you more confidence and strong courage to overcome flooding situations.
Organize Anti-Flood Setup inside the House.
Organizing in an anti-flood setup the insides of your house may cost some budget adjustments, but it’s worth a risk for some. Elevating electrical components like switches, electrical sockets, and wiring at least 12 inches above the predicted flood levels is a safe option. In this way, it would reduce the damage, hazard, and dangers during the recovery period.
Cleaning Up Drainage System
Do an early clean-up of your draining system. Water and sewage systems are particularly prone to flood damage where debris, leaves of trees, and other sorts of obstructions that can hinder the flow of water should be cleaned up and removed.
Waterproof Your Basement
This is advisable especially for frequently flooded areas, even though it may require a large amount of budget but it’s worth it in the long run. Prevention against hazards and safety of your property and your family is a top priority.
Make Plan for Evacuation Route
Create a Plan B, in the worst scenario, you would know what to do next. Knowing all routes within your geographic vicinity with the know-how to navigate could save your life and your family. Train your family members as to what to do (avoiding panic) during flooding, the meeting place, and how to survive the high waters.
Get a Flood Insurance.
For flood-prone area homeowners, it is advisable to get flood insurance in advance. The National Flood Insurance Program can provide a list of flood insurance companies, which is, by the way, has a separate coverage compared to a regular homeowner’s insurance, or you can visit Floodsmart.gov to get an estimate of the pricing for flood insurance for your geographic location/address.
Before the Hurricane Stage
Always on Alert
Do what the Floridians do, ‘always staying alert’, keeping watch of Hurricane News (local news channel), and staying updated with the latest news especially the flooding (should be taken seriously).
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) issues a Flood Watch when the flooding conditions are right. By then, is the perfect time to protect your furniture, appliances, and important items on the insides of your house. A Flood Warning means that a flood is happening now or going to take place soon.
Move-Up/Elevate Furniture and Appliances
Once a Flood Watch occurs, immediately move furniture, appliances, valuables, and important documents (Passports, birth certificates, Property and assets documents(deed/lease to home), proof of address, insurance policies, and Journal/Diary (Family /Emergency information) to a safe place. Keep in mind to stay focus, do not panic. Prioritize first your family’s safety and then your property assets. If the flood is likely to occur sooner than expected, forget your house and head to higher ground as planned.
During the Storm Stage
Safely stay inside your house, and stay away from windows and doors. Move up your family to higher ground, or if you have a second-floor house for their safety. Closely monitor the NOAA radio for the latest flood updates. Follow the instructions of local authorities like avoiding contact with floodwaters especially for children and wait until normalcy has been restored.
After the Storm Stage
Closely contact your family, friends, relatives, and neighbors about their status and yours. Advisable to send text messages which can be faster than a phone call. Even though the rain may stop, keep listening to local news while staying alert always for extended rainfalls and flooding. If there is a need to evacuate, make ready your plan for evacuation. It is advisable to follow the local authorities’ instructions rather than staying in your house. Make sure it is safe outside, check if the storm has really gone. Document all the damages on your property by taking videos and pictures for personal and insurance use.
Flood preparation solutions through the four stages of a hurricane pre-season stage- program with advance research; before the storm: staying alert; during the storm: staying inside/monitor/follow authorities; and after the storm: document aftermath.
For any flood restoration services call ServiceMaster by PWF Pinellas, specializing when it comes to water and storm damages on your home or business when restoring it. Water Damage Emergency can be traumatic, we understand that. Our goal is to get your life back to normal as quickly as possible.