HAMPTON, Va. -- Homeowners whose properties were damaged by Hurricane Floyd can obtain guidance on cost-effective ways to rebuild and minimize future disaster-related damages, according to federal and state disaster recovery officials. Although many disaster victims are still recovering from Floyd's onslaught, officials say now is the time to protect against future incidents.
"A few dollars spent now can save thousands in the future," said Robert Gunter, federal coordinating officer for disaster recovery efforts.
"The people of Virginia can take steps now to upgrade their properties and minimize damages the next time disaster strikes," said Michael Cline, state coordinating officer.
Everyone should consider renovating or rebuilding stronger and safer, especially those in hazard-prone areas.
By acting now to reduce future damage (referred to as "mitigation"), residents can protect against property losses. While many recommended measures require professional contractors, some homeowners, themselves, may be able to make some or all of the following low-cost changes:
- Move valuables and appliances out of basements and into safe areas
- Elevate or relocate a washer or dryer above historic or 100-year flood levels
- Improve interior wall construction using flood resistant materials
- Elevate or relocate electric panels and fuse boxes so that they are above anticipated flood levels
- Install septic backflow valves to prevent sewer back-up from entering your home
- Relocate and elevate water heaters and heating systems to upper floors
- Purchase flood insurance to cover the value of your home and its contents.
To learn more about the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), call 1-800-638-6620 or contact your local insurance agent.
Hazard mitigation starts when citizens become interested in protecting their own homes. Homeowners can ask loan officers and contractors about ways to incorporate flood protection into their renovation plans. They can also prompt local communities to develop grant proposals for more costly projects such as elevating or relocating structures out of danger zones or purchasing structures that are in special flood hazard areas.
To learn more about flood mitigation, contact the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation (Floodplain Management Section) at (804) 371-6135 or write to 203 Governor Street, Suite 206, Richmond, VA 23219-2094. For additional information, visit the FEMA website at www.fema.gov and click on Mitigation/Prevention.