SEATTLE, Wash. -- Winter is far from over, and with mountain snow packs at record levels, emergency management officials are reminding residents that personal preparedness remains a priority in the Pacific Northwest. Federal Emergency Management Agency Regional Administrator Susan Reinertson advises homeowners to take action before warming temperatures or prolonged precipitation force floods.
"Now is a good time to inventory and restock those all-important 72-hour emergency kits with fresh water, food, prescription medication, flashlight and radio batteries and all the rest of our emergency supplies," said Reinertson. "Disaster can strike without warning, and since you don't know where you'll be when it does, it is a good idea to keep disaster kits at home, in your auto and at work. It's not about paranoia. It's all about being a prudent and responsible person, parent, and neighbor. It's about being part of the solution if the power fails or the bridge goes out."
Flooding is the leading cause of property loss from natural disasters, and in addition to being prepared to operate independently for at least 72 hours in case of temporary infrastructure failures, Reinertson recommends flood insurance, available through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) as an essential resource in recovering after a flood. "Now is the time to re-evaluate the adequacy of your flood insurance coverage, or to consider buying some if you aren't already protected," she said. "Flood waters can rise just hours after a heavy rain, and you don't need to live in a mapped floodplain to need flood insurance. But there is a 30-day waiting period before newly purchased flood insurance takes effect, so don't wait."
Flood insurance covers structural elements and contents (purchased separately) for all insurable residential and non-residential buildings. Policies can be purchased from any licensed insurance agent or broker. Maximum coverage for single-family homes is $250,000 for the structure itself, and $100,000 for contents. Renters can also insure their personal belongings for up to $100,000. Businesses can insure buildings for up to $500,000 for the structure, and contents for up to $500,000.
The NFIP is self-supporting, with all claims and operating expenses paid from policy premiums, not tax dollars. For information about the NFIP, contact your insurance agent, or call toll free: 1-800-427-4661.
FEMA coordinates the federal government's role in preparing for, preventing, mitigating the effects of, responding to, and recovering from all domestic disasters, including acts of terror.