Believe it or not, there are only a few places in the United States that are considered “flood-free.” And even if your home isn’t sitting on top of a flood plain, that doesn’t mean that there won’t be a natural disaster to surprise you. You can check your area with the FreeFlood.com website.
Flooding is the most common natural disaster in America. According to the National Flood Insurance Program it caused almost $3 billion in losses between 2001 and 2010. Remember—your regular homeowners insurance policy does not cover flooding; additional coverage is required. And if you’re thinking you don’t need it, read this next part carefully: 20 percent of flood claims come from places where the flood risk is low, says FloodSmart.
The key to reducing flood damage is to take some precautions, and most of these can be “do-it-yourself” projects that can be completed in a few hours or a few days. Here are our tips:
1. We’ve already advised you to pack an emergency kit. Whether it’s a flood, earthquake, or wildfire, in Orange County an emergency pack is essential. We also recommend packing insurance information and numbers, bank information and identification copies. It is also wise to discuss an evacuation route with your family and a meet-up location. When creating your evacuation plan, keep in mind you may not be able to count on phones, GPS devices or even cars or public transport in an emergency situation.
2. Careful! If you think your house is going to flood after you evacuate, shut off the power at the main electrical panel. But before you do, check the ground beneath the box. If it’s already wet or flooded, leave it alone or you may be electrocuted!
3. Fix leaks immediately, as leaky roofs and foundation cracks are the places that allow water to get into your home. The leaks can cause structure weakness and provide a perfect home for mold growth. Wait until the area is safe to access and dry enough to repair and then fix them as soon as possible. Don’t want to hang out on the roof? Call a professional.
4. Is it time to replace your roof? It should only cost a few hundred dollars more to have the roofers install a rubber roof underlayment. This is a waterproof barrier that is laid under the shingles or tile and protects the roof from water intrusion. Heavy winds can drive water right underneath those shingles and cause a great deal of water damage!
5. Gutters and drains have one purpose, and it’s a very good one: to carry water away from your home. Make sure your gutters are clean and clear at all times. Is there a storm drain near your house? Make sure it’s clear too, as leaves and debris can easily catch in them, causing blockages that will allow water to collect.
6. Catalog your possessions for insurance claims using a digital camera or camcorder. Many smartphones now also have video facilities built in, which are ideal for this purpose. Store the file either on a USB drive in your emergency bag, in a safe-deposit box or on an off-site backup facility like Carbonite.com. These backup facilities are ideal for your home computer too, especially for treasured family digital photo collections.
7. Have a plumber install a sewer or septic line check valve, which allow waste to only flow one way. If you have a plumber install them, they can cost $100 each, or just $10 to $15 if you’re a savvy do-it-yourselfer.
If you need help with flood damage or restoration in Orange County, please give us a call. We are experts in the field with experienced team members who provide the best work in Orange County.