Preparing for a Flood
You don’t have to live near water to become a flood
victim. In fact, everyone lives in a flood zone. It is just a
matter of how likely it is that a flood will hit your home.
And, unfortunately, floods are the most common natural
disaster. Flood insurance is a good idea even if you have
floodproofed your house. Flood insurance can protect you from
unexpected events, such as a flood that rises higher than your
flood protection level. Homeowner’s policies do not cover
damage caused by floods.
Flood zones are rated based on the "100-year
flood" or the "500-year flood." This is the
standard used by most federal and state agencies, is used by
the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) as the standard
for floodplain management, and is used to determine the need
for flood insurance.
The "100-year flood" zone means that the area’s
elevation has a 1% chance of being equaled or exceeded by
flooding each year, or a 26% chance of suffering flood damage
during the term of a 30-year mortgage.
The "500-year flood" zone means that the area has
a lower risk of flooding. However, 25% of all flood insurance
claims are from these areas.
Did You Know?
90% of all Presidentially-declared
disasters included flooding.
90% of all disasters are not
Floods are the most common natural
Just in the last two years, floods
have hit homes and businesses in all 50 states.
Floods and flash floods kill more
people in the United States than any other natural disaster.
Floods do not only occur near bodies
of water. Heavy rainfall can flood entire cities.
Unanticipated flooding can happen in
areas previously considered out of flood reach.
Construction and erosion can change
water’s natural running patterns.
About one in four flood disasters
occur in areas with a low to moderate risk of flooding.
Property damage from flooding now
totals more than $1 billion in the United States.
Flood insurance policies normally
take 30 days from the date of purchase to go into effect. Do
not wait until a flood hits to get covered.
The most dangerous type of flooding
is a flash flood, which usually occurs within minutes or hours
of a heavy rainfall, a dam or dike failure or a large break in
an ice jam.
Disaster assistance is provided in
Presidentially-declared disaster areas. However, if you
receive disaster assistance, you are not eligible for it again
for the next 3 years. You need flood insurance to cover damage
should your home flood again in the 3 years following a
Flood insurance covers more damage
than disaster assistance. A home with flood insurance may be
covered for $250,000, whereas, the same house would be covered
for $35,000 with federal assistance.
The City of Wood River strictly
prohibits the dumping of any kind of debris in drainage
ditches. When debris accumulates in the drainage ditches the
ditches cannot store water thereby causing more flooding.
Estimated Cost of Coverage
Flood insurance is the best way to protect yourself before
a flood hits. Flood damage often goes way beyond the house.
Flood victims not only lose their homes and treasured
possessions, but rebuilding costs can also deplete the
Most homeowner and commercial insurance policies do not
cover floods. However, you can get flood insurance for your
home or business because the City of Wood River participates
in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). There are over
18,000 communities in the United States now participating in
this program. To find out how much your flood insurance policy
would cost, you must first determine your home’s flood zone.
to determine the risk level of your home or business. To
determine what flood zone you live in visit Floodzone.net
or contact the City of Wood River, Department of Building and
Zoning at (618) 251-3100.
Prepare for a Flood
Keep emergency building supplies
on hand, such as lumber, plywood, nails, hammer, saw,
sandbags, shovel, crowbar and plastic sheeting.
Plan an evacuation route and meeting
place. Practice the plan with your family.
Keep an emergency weather alert
radio on hand. Be sure to always have backup batteries.
Make a written and video inventory.
Keep insurance policies and a list of personal property in a
safe location outside your home.
Prevent floodwater backup by having
check valves installed in your plumbing.
Move electrical system components to
a higher location. If possible, secure shelves and water
heaters to walls.
During a Flood
Keep safe during a flood by following these tips:
Listen to your radio or TV for
emergency information. Evacuate immediately if told to do
Do not walk or drive through floods.
Even 6 inches of moving water is dangerous.
Move to higher ground.
Avoid storm drains and sewers.
Look out for snakes and animals that
seek shelter in your home.
Keep away from power lines.
Do not enter buildings surrounded by
After a Flood
What do you do after your home has been flooded? Follow
these tips from the American Red Cross and the Federal
Emergency Management Agency.
Wait for the water to go down
before entering your home.
Report downed power lines and gas
Turn off the electricity at the main
breaker or fuse box. If you have to step in water to get to
your electric box, call an electrician.
Turn off the gas if you have gas
appliances. Then clean the mud out of the pilot and burners.
Check for structural damage.
Check the ceiling for signs of
sagging. Poke a hole at the edge of the sag to drain water.
Find and protect the
"irreplaceable" valuables such as money, jewelry,
insurance papers, photographs and family heirlooms. Then
freeze them in plastic bags to protect them from mildew and
Circulate air through your home by
Patch holes in the roof, walls or
windows with boards, tarps or plastic sheeting.
Repair sagging floors or roof
sections with 4x4s to brace weak areas.
Remove debris such as tree limbs or
Check for broken or leaking water
pipes. Do not drink, clean dishes, wash clothes or cook with
tap water until it has been declared safe.
Drain water in your basement slowly
and carefully. Pump 2 to 3 feet of water out and wait
overnight. If the water level has risen, it is too early to
drain your basement. Draining basements too early may result
in serious structural damage.
Shovel out as much mud as possible.
Hose the house down, inside and out.
Hose heating and air conditioning
ducts which may have mud in them to rid them of health
Hose out light sockets and
electrical boxes. First, make sure the electricity is off.
Wash ducts work with a disinfectant
or sanitizer, such as the quaternary, phenolic or pine
Keep records of damage to the
building, damage to the contents, receipts for cleanup and
restoration expenses, such as material, labor and equipment
rental, and receipts for flood-related expenses such as motel
Replace wallboard which can act like
a sponge and soak up health hazards in water.
Allow wood to dry naturally. It will
usually regain its original shape.
Collect cleaning supplies such as
brooms, mops, brushes, sponges, buckets, hoses, rubber gloves,
rags, cleaning products, disinfectants, lubricating oil, trash
bags and a hair dryer.
Clean and disinfect everything in
you house, including the walls, floors, closest, shelves,
contents-every flooded part of your house.
For a complete book on Repairing Your Flooded Home, contact
FEMA Publications, P.O. Box 70274, Washington, DC 20024
Is Your House Substantially Damaged?
Substantially damaged means that the cost to restore your
house to its "before damaged" condition would equal
or exceed 50% of the value of your house before the damage
occurred. If you are located in a floodplain, you must check
with the Department of Building & Zoning before you build,
fill or rebuild. Floodplain building additions, improvements,
and repairs that equal or exceed 50% of the value of the
existing building must meet the same construction requirements
as a new building. Substantially improved or substantially
damaged residential buildings must be elevated to or above the
base flood elevation.
To report illegal floodplain development, contact the
Department of Building & Zoning immediately at (618)
To report illegal dumping in the drainage systems, contact
the Department of Public Services at (618) 251-3122.
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