Lansing, MI -- As flood victims in Wayne County recover from the storms and flooding, more than $2.5 million has been paid by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in disaster assistance grants and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) in low-interest loans. Those who are ready to rebuild or repair are asking about how to prevent future flood losses.
FEMA and the state of Michigan have prepared a series of hazard mitigation suggestions on what can be done to prevent or reduce future flood losses in the home.
It is less expensive to protect your home and property before they are damaged than to repair them afterwards. "We want to break the damage-repair-damage cycle whenever feasible," said Suzanne Schmitt, FEMA Federal Coordinating Officer.
"Flood victims can save lives and property if they rebuild and repair their homes sensibly," Capt. Edward Buikema, State Coordinating Officer, said. "The local building permit officials have the information you need to make these 'preventive repairs' and to avoid costly mistakes."
The state of Michigan and FEMA are committed to mitigation. In Wayne County 1,233 damaged dwellings have been identified by FEMA for mitigation for the installation of backflow valves.
Additionally, homeowners themselves can do many mitigation projects and most are relatively inexpensive. Protection measures may include:
- Placing a floor drain plug in the basement drain
- Installing a sump pump
- Establishing a grade away from his home
- Extending drainpipes away from his home
- Installing window well covers
- Elevating storage shelving.
Other commonsense measures that help prevent loss include:
- Providing battery backup for your sump pump
- Installing sewage backflow valves
- Anchoring your fuel tank
- Elevating the electric panel, washer and dryer
- Suspending the heating system
- Relocating heating and hot water systems
- Constructing an exterior floodwall around the perimeter of outside basement openings
- Constructing an interior floodwall to enclose utilities
- Building a French drain
- Not planting grass or shrubs next to your foundation
- Filling-in your basement.
A building permit may be required. Local codes generally require a building permit before making repairs or flood-proofing improvements to a structure. Owners or contractors usually need to get a permit for electrical work, plumbing and repairs for structural damage such as foundations and exterior walls.
Where To Get More Information
Flood recovery specialists from FEMA are available now at the Disaster Recovery Centers (DRCs) and will be in the future to provide homeowners, renters and business owners information on flood risks, flood damage reduction techniques and flood insurance. These DRCs are located at the Family Independence Office, 22050 Pennsylvania Avenue, Taylor; and the Eastpoint/Social Security Building, 19853 Outer Drive in Dearborn.
To obtain a free copy of the FEMA "How To..." pamphlet called "Protecting Your Property From Flooding," call FEMA publications at 1-800-480-2520. This and more valuable hazard mitigation information also is available on the Internet at www.fema.gov.