A flooded houseAccording to the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), floods are not only the most common but also the most expensive natural disaster in the country. No state or territory is safe from the effects of flooding, which can strike anywhere and happen anytime.

This makes it important to always be prepared by safeguarding your home or business and having an evacuation plan. Ilsiengineering.com added that it’s also a good idea to look into flood control management systems, especially in extremely flood-prone areas.

Here are some guidelines on flood preparedness to help you protect lives and property:

Be aware

Knowledge is power. The more you know about flooding and its effects, the more you will be able to take action to protect your family, employees, and property. Educate yourself about the flood level and warning systems in your area. If you own or manage a business, conduct seminars and training to make sure that all workers know what to do in the event of a flood or other emergencies.

You can also check flood readiness information and other resources from organizations and government agencies, such as Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS), Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and the National Weather Service.

Determine the flow of water

You need to know how water flows around your property. It’s best if your home or establishment was built on the ground with a slope, which directs water away from your home’s structure. If your property is prone to standing water, talk to environmental services or your flood control management office so they can make suggestions on how to drain or direct water away from your property.

Check your equipment

It’s necessary to safeguard the electrical and climate systems in your home or establishment by raising the wiring, circuit breakers, sockets, switches, water heater, furnace, and other indoor equipment at least a foot above your area’s expected flood level.

Outdoor equipment, such as generators and electrical power units, air conditioning units, and fuel tanks, should also be anchored and raised so they all sit above the flood level. Anchoring fuel tanks will make sure these don’t break free during a flood and damage supply lines, which can result in fuel contaminating the surroundings. Raising backup power supply will also prevent them from being rendered useless by floodwater.

Consider a major retrofit

If your property is susceptible to flooding and moving isn’t possible, you may need to have it retrofitted. This can be costly, however, but a wise investment under the circumstances. Some of the common retrofitting measures done on buildings in flood-prone areas include the following:

  • Raising the structure of columns or piers so that the lowest floor sits above the expected flood level
  • Installing foundation vents to allow water to flow through the structure
  • Applying coatings, caulk, and other sealing materials to walls and cracks
  • Installing watertight shields over doors and windows

Should you need to make any modifications to your home or business establishment, secure all the necessary permits first before starting, and make sure to work only with licensed and insured contractors with experience in flood proofing.