NEW YORK, N.Y. -- The damage caused by flooding this past August 8 resulted in Brooklyn and Queens being designated official disaster areas. Are you prepared for the possibility of a flood coming into your home or business? With some relatively simple steps, you can protect your property and decrease the potential for destruction and expense.
Making your building more resistant to flood damage, technically called mitigation, can help you withstand future flooding events. And flood insurance can help you recover after a flood.
"Floods cause major havoc to people's homes, businesses and lives, but taking precautions can significantly reduce the trauma and cost of repairs,” said Federal Coordinating Officer Marianne C. Jackson of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
State Coordinating Officer John R. Gibb, Director of the New York State Emergency Management Office, adds, "Homeowners and businesses need to be prepared for all hazards and that includes floods.”
A major preventative step is to elevate appliances and electrical outlets and panels if they are in the part of your home or business that floods, or is likely to be flooded.
Appliances with electric motors that are not designed specifically to be in water should be elevated to a level that is above the flood line if the room experiences flooding, or raised an adequate height above potential flood waters - but still allow for ease of use.
These items include heating units, water heaters, central air conditioners, and refrigerators/freezers. Electrical outlets, switches, and circuit breaker boxes should be raised as well.
For information about how to go about this, consult your local hardware store personnel. Be mindful of New York City building codes and, when dealing with electricity and gas, be sure to work with a licensed electrician and plumber.
The other significant step you can take is to purchase flood insurance. Available to all New Yorkers, flood insurance is typically not part of a home or business's regular insurance. Having this additional coverage can make a huge difference when needing to make repairs and replace items following a flood.
Of the 3,500 Brooklyn and Queens residents who registered for government disaster aid because of the flooding on August 8, only 2.5 percent had flood insurance.
The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) allows property owners to purchase flood insurance protection from the federal government. NFIP can be purchased through a licensed private insurance company or independent property and casualty agent.
More information about NFIP is available by calling 1-800-427-2419, or visit www.floodsmart.gov where you can also learn flood risk information for your address.
Options for SBA Loan Applicants
August 8 flood victims who have applied for U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) loans are eligible to request an additional 20 percent of the approved loan amount in order to pay for measures that will protect against future flooding.
Applicants must indicate on their SBA loan application that they wish to apply for additional funds for mitigation and, before the loan is approved, must indicate the type of mitigating measures they plan to undertake and include estimated costs.
If you already have an SBA loan application and would like more information about applying for mitigation assistance, please contact the SBA at 1-800-659-2955 or 1-800-877-8399 for the hearing-impaired, Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. and on Saturday and Sunday from 12:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Please visit www.sba.gov/services/disasterassistance for more information on SBA disaster loans.
If your home or business s...