FRANKFORT, Ky. -- Where it can rain, it can flood.
Kentucky is all too familiar with the destruction caused by flash floods and rising water. The Commonwealth has had to deal repeatedly with the costly damage that accounts for 90 percent of all natural disasters nationwide each year.
Many people have learned too late that most homeowners' policies do not cover floods. If you do buy flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program, remember there is a 30-day waiting period before the policy becomes effective.
To educate Kentuckians about flooding and what can be done to prepare for it, the Kentucky Division of Emergency Management, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration have partnered for National Flood Safety Awareness Week (March 16-20).
The goal is to help state residents cope with flooding before, during and after it strikes.
For more information on National Flood Safety Awareness Week visit www.floodsmart.gov/floodsmart/pages/landing_pages/landing_noaa.jsp?WT.mc_id=FEMA_NOAA.
Flood insurance is available through the National Flood Insurance Plan. You can buy it even if your mortgage holder does not require it. The average homeowner's flood insurance premium is about $500 a year. "Preferred risk" insurance is available at reduced cost for those living in low or moderate risk areas.
You should have an emergency plan for your family and pets along with a “go'' kit that includes copies of key documents like insurance policies, a household inventory of possessions, medications and contact numbers.
To minimize damage to homes, clear debris from gutters, anchor fuel tanks and raise electrical components such as switches, sockets and circuit breakers. Air conditioning units should be elevated. Appliances and furniture can be moved to a higher floor or put on cement blocks.
For tips on preparing for floods see: www.floodsmart.gov/floodsmart/pages/preparation_recovery/before_a _flood.jsp
Stay informed by listening to local broadcasts and your weather radio, which should have a backup battery.
If flooding happens, go to higher ground. Turn off power at the main switch and close the main gas valve if you are advised to do so.
Do not walk or drive through flooded streets. Flood waters often contain raw sewage, so keep children away from these hazards.
For suggestions on dealing with flooding: www.floodsmart.gov/floodsmart/pages/preparation_recovery/during_a_flood.jsp
Call your insurance agent to file a claim.
Take photos of floodwaters and your home. Save damaged property. If items must be thrown out, document losses with receipts and photos.
Do not re-enter a home that is not structurally sound. Keep power and gas off until your home has been inspected for safety.
Prevent mold by removing wet contents as soon as possible. Wear protective gear while disinfecting the area and be careful not to mix chemicals.
For help the aftermath of a flood: www.floodsmart.gov/floodsmart/pages/preparation_recovery/after_a_flood.jsp
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