KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Residents of Missouri have been hit hard this spring and summer by severe storms and flooding. Information learned from these disasters can help everyone to identify steps that could be taken now to lessen the financial impact and damaging effects of unavoidable emergencies in the future.
There are many types of preparedness measures that are available. Purchasing flood insurance through the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA's) National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) is one way to save a lot of headaches and money following a disaster.
Since regular homeowner's insurance does NOT cover flood damage, anyone in an area that may be at risk for flooding should ask their insurance agent about content and structural coverage through the NFIP. Individuals can find out their flood risk by going to www.floodsmart.gov.
Investing in preventive measures that reduce the impacts from the next disaster is called "mitigation". Some mitigation measures for flooding and extreme winds that are often associated with severe storms are:
- Develop a household disaster plan.
- Avoid building in a flood plain unless you elevate your home.
- Seal walls in basement with flood-proofing compounds to avoid seepage through cracks in the walls.
- When replacing existing windows, consider installing impact-resistant laminated glass window systems.
- Elevate water heaters and other electronic equipment if located in the basement.
- Anchor fuel tanks securely to the floor. Make sure vents and fill line openings are above projected flood levels.
- Have a licensed plumber install an interior or exterior backflow valve on the sewer system.
- Install a floating floor drain plug at the current drain location. If the floor drain pipe backs up, the float will rise and plug the drain.
"If your home or belongings suffered damage in the storm, mitigate further loss as quickly as possible", said Lee Rosenberg, FEMA's federal coordinating officer for the current disaster declaration. "Taking mitigation steps now will help reduce the amount of structural damage to your home and financial loss from building damage should another disaster occur."
FEMA coordinates the federal government's role in preparing for, preventing, mitigating the effects of, responding to, and recovering from all domestic disasters, whether natural or man-made, including acts of terror.