Rebuild Smarter, Safer and Stronger

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Release date: 
September 24, 2011
Release Number: 
4026-019

CONCORD, N.H. – Recovering from Tropical Storm Irene may offer some New Hampshire residents an opportunity to rebuild smarter, safer and stronger.

“Some ways of responding to a major disaster like the storms and flooding that struck New Hampshire are better than others,” said Albie Lewis, federal coordinating officer. “Rebuilding to reduce flood damage the next time is a smart thing to do.”

For example, if your heating fuel tank – oil or propane – is not secured strongly enough to prevent movement, it should be. It also is important that the filler and vent tubes be above the 100-year flood level. Fuel tanks, whether inside or outside, can be easily and inexpensively anchored.

Another mitigation measure is to install backflow valves on all pipes that leave the house or that are connected to equipment that is below the potential flood level. The valves may be needed on washing machine drain lines, laundry sinks, rain downspouts and sump pumps, as well as sewer or septic connections.

To prevent damage in future flooding, all electrical system components should be raised at least one foot above the 100-year flood level. This is less costly if you already have to replace wall paneling because access by an electrician is much easier when the walls are stripped to the framework.

If floors and walls have to be replaced, use materials resistant to flood damage. These include concrete, tile, vinyl flooring, pressure-treated wood and cold-formed steel. Brick, slate, glass block and stone also are resistant to water damage, as is foam and closed-cell insulation, marine plywood and polyester or epoxy paint.

Finally, if a dwelling is substantially damaged, make sure that the lowest floor of the structure is elevated to or above the base flood elevation.

Always remember to contact your local building code official to obtain all necessary permits before any repairs take place.

FEMA's mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.

Last Updated: 
July 16, 2012 - 18:46
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