San Francisco, CA -- As winter storms hit parts of the state, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, through its Project Impact initiative, is urging Arizona residents to take preventative measures in lessening the risk of severe weather damage.
"Severe weather has the potential to inflict costly damages to our homes and our businesses," said Kevin Clark, Project Impact coordinator for FEMA Region IX in San Francisco, "but there are steps you can take now to protect yourself and your property."
Severe storms that can produce flooding, high winds and heavy snows are the most common weather threats in late winter and early spring. FEMA's Project Impact recommends doing the following before disaster strikes:
- Reinforce garage doors to withstand high winds.
- Install backflow valves in waste lines to prevent contamination and physical damage in the event of flooding.
- Remove old shingles and add more nails to roof boards to protect against high winds.
- Elevate electrical panels, fuse boxes, and heating and air conditioning controls above the floodplain.
- Secure a manufactured home to a concrete foundation to protect against floods or earthquakes.
Licensed contractors should be retained for major projects and those requiring electrical or plumbing expertise.
Damage-prevention work can range in cost from a few dollars to a few thousand, but every dollar spent can make a big difference in protection from disaster.
In 2000, 45 major disasters were declared across the country, causing more than $3.3 billion in damage to homes and businesses. Arizona is still recovering from the damages that occurred during this past autumn's storm disaster. Flash flooding poses a threat - both in the desert areas and the mountain areas.
"Four Arizona cities participating in Project Impact - Glendale, Scottsdale, Tempe and Yuma - are actively protecting residents from the devastating effects of disasters," said Clark.
Nearly 250 communities and 2,500 business partners are participating in Project Impact nationwide. Instead of waiting for disasters to strike, they initiate mentoring relationships, private and public partnerships, public outreach, and projects to reduce damage from potentially devastating disasters. Community projects have included revising local building and land use codes, and passing bond issues to fund disaster mitigation construction.