How to Prepare for East Coast Storms and Flooding
Hurricane season is in full swing along the East Coast. While most of the major hurricanes of the season — Barry, Dorian, and Humberto — missed the East Coast, we are all familiar with the devastation that strong winds and rain can cause.
September is National Preparedness Month, which highlights ways for families to respond to various disasters. Sponsored by FEMA, it offers a wealth of information on emergency protocol, tools, and local resources.
Flash Flood Safety Tips
Nearly 50% of all flash flood fatalities involve a person inside a vehicle. Never drive into water. You can lose control of your vehicle in as little as two feet of water. If you live by a lake or in a flood zone, keep an eye out for large pools of water on roads.
Keep Away from Water and Fallen Power Lines
Never walk through a flooded area — or any area covered by running water. A person can be swept away by as little as six inches of running water.
Keep at least 30 feet away from fallen power lines since the ground can be energized.
Seek Higher Ground
If you are hiking/camping in a river valley, move to higher ground if storms are imminent. Never camp near water during the rainy season.
Flash Flood Deaths
Most flash flood deaths occur late at night when people are unable to judge the water levels — or see how quickly the water is rising. If you are in an area during a flash flood watch at night, make sure that you have a light source with you while seeking higher ground.
If you are under a flood watch, disconnect all of your electrical appliances and keep away from electrical equipment. Also, turn off your gas and electricity if flooding is imminent.
For more flood safety tips, visit Ready.gov.
It’s important to have either an alarm system or an emergency battery backup in the case of a power outage.
Just as we always get phone calls following a big storm about damaging electrical surges, we also always get calls about blackouts and loss of power.
Protect Your Home From Flooding
Flooding is the most common disaster for homeowners — and the most costly. There are several flood mitigation strategies you can use to minimize the risk of flooding damage in your home:
- Learn if you are in a high-risk flood zone. Use the FEMA Flood Map Service to look up your address.
- Even if you are in a low-risk flood area, you may want to purchase a flood insurance policy since many homeowners insurance policies don’t cover flood damage. According to FEMA, “If you live in an area with low or moderate flood risk, you are 5 times more likely to experience a flood than a fire in your home over the next 30 years.”
- Regularly clean gutters, downspouts, splashpads, and storm drains to improve water runoff and drainage.
- If necessary, improve your lot grading so water flows away from your home.
- Consider using rain barrels to gather water runoff for nonpotable uses, such as washing your car.
- You may need to raise various utilities and service equipment, such as AC condensers, heat pumps, and water meters. This can save you a lot of damage during a flooding situation.
- Seal foundation and basement walls. You can seal cracks with mortar and masonry caulk or hydraulic cement.
- Consider installing flood vents, which allow flood waters to flow freely. This reduces the risk of water pressure damaging your walls and foundations.
- Make sure all of your floor drains are clear of any obstructions.
- Ask your plumber about installing drain plugs for all of your basement floor drains or sewer backflow valves to prevent sewer backups.
- Keep important documents and possessions in a fire and waterproof container.
- Install a sump pump, which is a great way to pump out water that enters the basement from around the house.
Learn more tips for protecting your home from flooding.
Why Install a Sump Pump?
Sump pumps are installed at the lowest point of your home to collect water from around the foundation and pump it to an outdoor drain. By pumping water out of your basement, you can avoid a flooding situation that can cause tens of thousands of dollars worth of damage. Sump pumps also reduce the amount of moisture and humidity that enters your home, protecting your home from mold and mildew, pests, and wood rot.
Learn all about sump pumps with our Sump Pumps 101 Homeowner’s Guide.
Sobieski Services is here in cases of emergency. Contact Sobieski Services for help protecting your Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland, or New Jersey home from flooding. Our HVAC and plumbing specialists are always available to answer any questions you may have.