Breaking the Costly Cycle Of Damage-Repair-Damage

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Release date: 
November 5, 2008
Release Number: 
1785-084

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Floridians who are planning to repair or rebuild their homes or businesses after flooding from Tropical Storm Fay subsides are facing many choices - and, yes, opportunities - regarding how they put the pieces of their homes and lives back together.

State and federal emergency management officials are hoping that some of those choices will include proven techniques that can help reduce or prevent future storm damage.

As people repair or rebuild, it's an ideal time to incorporate disaster-resistant measures. Many of these are small changes that can make a big difference the next time storms strike. Similar steps taken after other disasters in the state already have proven effective in minimizing subsequent damage.

Authorities agree that the best way to minimize damage from severe storms and break the costly damage-repair-damage cycle is to consider both wind- and flood-resistant techniques. Many of these measures can be put in place for little or no cost.? Some require more of an investment. All are worth serious consideration now.

Web users can go online to www.fema.gov and find abundant detailed information about ways to combat storms, tornadoes and flooding to minimize future losses. The Web site www.floodsmart.gov can even estimate the risk of flooding at your address - and provide flood maps and names of the nearest agents offering flood insurance.

To minimize damage often caused by flooding as well as high winds, emergency management officials are urging citizens to take action that will minimize losses from these types of disasters.? Some of those ideas include:?

  • Install a sewer backflow valve to temporarily block drain pipes and prevent sewage from backing up into the house.

  • While there may not be many basements in Florida, if you have one add a sump pump to help keep groundwater from entering your home's interior.

  • Elevate key utilities and appliances - water heaters, furnaces, washers and dryers.? When possible, move them from a basement or lower level to an upper floor.? Otherwise, relocate appliances on a base at least 6 inches tall.? Be sure to use a licensed contractor when plumbing or electrical changes are needed.

  • Raise electrical components - panel boxes, switches, outlets - at least 1 foot above the 100-year flood level.? For help in determining the 100-year flood level in your area, check with local officials.?

  • Cut drywall so that it is one-half an inch to an inch off the floor, especially in basements.? Concrete floors commonly absorb ground moisture - especially in winter months.? That moisture can wick up the wallboard if it's touching the floor, allowing mold to grow out-of-sight within the walls.? You can seal the gap with wood or rubberized floor trim.

  • Anchor a fuel tank by securing it to a large concrete slab or by installing metal straps that are attached to ground anchors over the tank.?

  • Add waterproof veneer to exterior walls and seal all openings, including doors, to prevent water entry.

  • Don't forget to buy flood insurance - even if you don't live in a flood-prone area. Flood insurance provides year-round financial protection and improves your ability to recover when severe storms strike and cause unexpected flooding. Floods are the most common type of natural disaster. For homes in floodplains, there is a nine percent chance of fire-related losses in the life of a 30-year mortgage, but an astounding 26 percent chance of flood-related losses. Approximately a fourth of all flood insurance claims paid by the National Flood Insurance...

Last Updated: 
July 16, 2012 - 18:46
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