DANBURY, Conn. -- Did you know that a home is four times more likely to flood than burn during the course of a 30-year mortgage? It's a statistic residents and businesses in Fairfield and Hartford counties experienced first hand during the recent high winds, heavy rains and flooding brought by Tropical Storm Floyd.
"One thing we know for sure about floods is that if your area flooded during this storm, it's likely to flood again," State Coordinating Officer John T. Wiltse said.
To prepare for the next flood, Federal Coordinating Officer Sharon L. Stoffel suggests several preventive measures that are part of a program called Project Impact: Building Disaster-Resistant Communities. This FEMA nationwide initiative aims to change the way America deals with disasters, including flooding, by using common sense mitigation techniques.
"Steps can be taken not only by individuals and businesses, but also by communities to help prevent flood damage and loss," she said. They include the following:
- Move valuables and appliances out of the basement of your home or business if it is prone to flooding.
- Elevate the main breaker or fuse box and the utility meters above the anticipated flood level in your home or business so that floodwater will not damage your utilities.
- Clean and maintain storm drains and gutters and remove debris from your property to allow free flow of potential floodwater.
- Buy flood insurance to cover the value of your home and its contents. To learn more about flood insurance, call 1-800-427-2419, or contact your local insurance agent.
- Identify what potential risks could affect your business during severe weather. Are you near a floodplain?
- Develop business interruption plans and implement mitigation measures to minimize loss of jobs and business activity.
- Line up alternate vendors for essential supplies and equipment.
- Contact your state or local emergency management office or building official or a FEMA regional office for more information on protecting your business through mitigation.
- Encourage and support local community prevention efforts that reduce the risk to critical local infrastructures like electricity, water and roads that are necessary for the continued operation of your business.
- Remove all debris from culverts, streams and channels to allow the free flow of potential floodwaters.
- Remove vital records from basement storage areas.
- Adopt policies now that will ensure that if flood destruction does occur, community redevelopment plans and actions will minimize future flood losses.
- Elevate electrical power stations and other utility facilities to ensure that vital services are not interrupted during flooding.