BOTHELL, Wash. -- As the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) helps Washingtonians recover from the floods of October, they are offering homeowners advice about how to protect their homes from devastation from future flooding.
One of the most effective ways to prevent future flood damage is to elevate your home above the flood level. For this solution, the structure is raised so that the main living floor is above the base flood elevation and a new foundation is put under the existing structure. New stairs and landings then are built to provide access to the main floor.
When a house is properly elevated, the living area will be above all but the most severe floods. Your local building officials can determine safe flood-elevation height (known as "base flood elevation").
During last October's floods, Washington residents who had elevated their homes discovered they had saved themselves thousands of dollars and much heartache. Among these was David Mischke, of Burlington.
David Mischke built his rental house a little higher than county regulations recommended. When the floods came, the house was five feet above the water. After the waters receded, all the house required was some washing up.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) offers a free publication (#347) explaining how to elevate a house: "Above the Flood: Elevating Your Flood Prone House." To order a copy, call 1-800-480-2520.
Measures taken to protect property from disaster damage are called mitigation. For more mitigation suggestions, visit the FEMA website, www.fema.gov.
On March 1, 2003, FEMA became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. FEMA's continuing mission within the new department is to lead the effort to prepare the nation for all hazards and effectively manage federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident. FEMA also initiates proactive mitigation activities, trains first responders, and manages the National Flood Insurance Program and the U.S. Fire Administration.