HARRISBURG, Pa. -- Heavy rains and flooding can occur anytime. Officials recommend that Pennsylvania residents prepare now for the next storm or flood. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), some simple actions can be taken to lower your chances of flood property losses and to make sure your family is safe.
Creating and Keeping Records Safe
Create a file with your personal information in it. Keep the information in a safe deposit box or in a waterproof container in your home. The file should contain:
- Life and property insurance policies and your agent's contact information.
- A copy of your deed if you own real estate.
- Financial records and bank account numbers.
- An inventory of your possessions.
- Photographs of each room and its contents.
- Critical documents such as wills, trusts, and medical directives.
Preparing Your Home:
- Keep your sump pump in good working order.
- Clean out debris from gutters and downspouts regularly so rain water can flow through.
- Keep fuel tanks anchored to prevent them from floating away and possibly causing harm.
- Raise electrical items such as switches, circuit breakers, and wiring at least 12 inches above the point you think floodwaters might reach.
- If possible, raise the furnace, water heater, washer, and dryer onto cement blocks at least 12 inches above the point you expect flood water might reach.
Safeguarding your Family:
- Make a safety kit with a 3 day supply of drinking water and canned food, a can opener, first aid items, blankets, a National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) radio, and a flashlight with batteries.
- Put emergency contact telephone numbers by each phone, program them into your cell phones, post them on the refrigerator and teach your children how to dial 911.
- Know your community's evacuation plan and practice the flood evacuation route with your family. Find safe routes from home, work and school-those on higher ground.
- Ask an out-of-state relative or friend to be the contact for your family in case of an emergency.
- Make plans to protect and care for your pets.
- Purchase flood insurance. When the next flood comes you will be glad you have an insurance settlement to help you recover from any losses you have. To find the agent closest to you, go to www.floodsmart.gov and enter your address.
For more information on emergency preparations visit Ready.gov or www.DisasterAssistance.gov, or call FEMA's Helpline at 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. daily. Those with speech or hearing impairments may call TTY 1-800-462-7585. If you use 711 or Video Relay Service (VRS), call 1-800-621-3362. Operators are multilingual and calls are answered seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. You also can register online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov or by smart phone or tablet at m.fema.gov. If you have a disability and need help registering, please don't hesitate to contact FEMA to ask for help.
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.