Williston, VT -- State and federal officials urge homeowners to consider disaster resistance. The rebuilding and repair phase of a disaster is the ideal time to consider ways to limit future damage. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) calls such an action "Hazard Mitigation."
"Small steps can often make a tremendous difference," said Tom Davies, lead federal official in charge of the recovery. "It is a good investment of time and money."
There are many simple measures that homeowners can take to lessen the risk of future flooding damage. "We want to break the damage-repair-damage cycle whenever feasible," declared Tom Torti, lead state official in charge of the recovery. "While many recommended measures require a contractor to perform, some can be accomplished by a competent do-it-yourselfer." Among the suggestions are:
- Relocate or elevate water heaters, heating systems, washers and dryers to a higher floor, or to at least 12 inches above the high water mark. Also, raise electrical wiring and outlets.
- Anchor the fuel tank to the wall or floor.
- Install a septic backflow valve to prevent sewer back-up from entering your home.
- Install a floating drain plug at the lowest point of the lowest finished floor.
- Check insurance policies. Make sure your policy has sufficient coverage for likely hazards. Flood insurance is not part of normal homeowners' policies, but may be available through your insurance agent.
- Check with your local building department to find out what permits or inspections are required.
On July 12, President Bush declared a disaster for assistance to individuals and families in Caledonia, Franklin, Lamoille, and Orleans counties. Those who wish to register for assistance or obtain information about hazard mitigation may call 1-800-621-FEMA (3362). The TTY number for those who are hearing or speech impaired is 1-800-462-7585.