Facing The Floods: Today And In The Future

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Release date: 
June 15, 1999
Release Number: 
1277-31

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa -- Are you a potential flood victim? Floods can occur anywhere, but some places are more at risk than others.

Areas likely to be flooded are called Special Flood Hazard Areas; they are nicknamed the "100-year floodplain." Your local government maintains maps that show the Special Flood Hazard Areas near you.

Find out where your home is in relation to the high risk area by locating your home on one of those maps. If it's in a Special Flood Hazard Area, NOW is the time to minimize your flood risk. Remember: it's not the distance you are from the water's edge, it's your elevation above it that counts.

If your home is located in a high flood risk area, you have three options:

  1. FLOODPROOF YOUR HOME
  2. RELOCATE YOUR HOME
  3. MOVE TO A NEW HOME

Building codes, floodplain management policies, local regulations, and personal preferences will influence your decision. Choosing any option may mean compromise. Choosing the right option requires research, planning, contacting local officials, and assessing trade-offs.

Floods take a heavy toll on everyone-the homeowner and community alike. The homeowner may lose his home and possessions; he may put his and his family's lives at risk. The +ommunity must maintain costly search and rescue services, just in case. When the floods come, the rescuers must risk their lives to save yours. Be part of the solution, not part of the problem.

Keeping your home in a floodplain requires special protective measures to minimize or prevent damage when the flood arrives.

We have good reasons for living where we do: close to family; close to friends; good schools; close to work; the right neighborhood. If staying in the floodplain is the choice for you, you must floodproof.

Before Starting, contact your local building officials to make certain that your plans conform to current building codes and, if applicable, floodplain regulations. If your home has been flooded, some floodproofing projects may not be optional.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) can provide property owners with detailed information on moving furnaces, hot water heaters, electrical panel boxes, and appliances out of harm's way. Other examples of floodproofing include:

  • Installing backflow valves on septic tank and sewage lines
  • Building levees or floodwalls to keep water away from a structure
  • Anchoring mobile homes, fuel tanks and gas bottles to prevent them from floating away
  • Building with the bottom floor above base-flood elevation

Purchase Flood Insurance. If your community participates in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) you can purchase flood insurance. It is affordable. Make sure you get coverage for both the structure and its contents. Renters can buy coverage for their possessions, too. Contact any insurance agent who offers homeowner's coverage.

To obtain more information, contact your local government, your local emergency manager, and your local building officials. Check out the following FEMA publications. They are available free by writing to FEMA Publications, P.O. Box 70274, Washington, DC 20024 or by calling 1-800-480-2520.

FEMA # 234-Repairing Your Flooded Home
FEMA # 247-Against the Wind
FEMA # 312-Homeowner's Guide to Retrofitting: Six Ways to Protect Your House From Flooding
FEMA # 320-Taking Shelter from the Storm: Building A Safe Room Inside Your House

Relocating a home to higher ground can save it from flood damage.

A comfortable home is like an old friend-we want to keep it forever. And the cost of building a new home may be out of reach. Surprisingly, physically moving your current home to a site outsi...

Last Updated: 
July 16, 2012 - 18:46
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