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Retrofitting Helps Protect Your Home From Flooding

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Release date: 
November 10, 2011
Release Number: 

HARRISBURG, Pa. -- Both expected and sudden storms may cause serious flood damage to property and possessions. Homeowners who take steps to retrofit their home in anticipation of uncertain weather, come out ahead. Have you taken this precaution? Have you wondered if it’s really necessary to go to the expense of retrofitting because you are not in a floodplain or an area prone to flooding? 

According to officials of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA), everyone lives in a floodplain.

“The destruction caused by Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee confirm how destructive weather can be,” said Commonwealth Coordinating Officer John Forr. “It makes sense to do all you can to be prepared in advance.

Before you decide to what extent to retrofit your home, you will want to know what damage-reduction methods are available, how they work, their cost, and whether they meet your specific needs.

 Damage Reduction Methods:

  • Elevation -- Involves raising your house to bring the lowest floor above flood level. This is the most common way to avoid flood damage.
  • Wet floodproofing -- Protecting a building by allowing floodwaters to enter uninhabited areas of the property; for example, parking and storage areas. 
  • Levees and floodwalls -- Constructing barriers of compacted soil or manmade materials like concrete or masonry to block floodwaters.
  • Relocation (a) -- Moving your house to higher ground.
  • Relocation (b) -- Moving your house outside of the flood hazard area.
  • Demolition -- Demolishing your home and rebuilding on the property or elsewhere, to meet flood-resistant standards.

Determine What Methods Will Work Best for You:

  • Inspect your home with the various damage-reduction methods in mind.
  • Check with local officials concerning hazards, codes and regulations, technical guidance and Hazard Mitigation Grant Program assistance.
  • Consult with a design professional and a contractor.
  • Berks County
    4535 Perkioman Ave., Reading
  • Lancaster County
    1845 Hempstead Rd., Lancaster
  • Montgomery County
    630 Cowpath Rd., Lansdale
  • Montgomery County
    2002 Chemical Rd., Plymouth Meeting
  • Philadelphia County
    2106 S. Christopher Columbus Blvd., Philadelphia
  • Philadelphia County
    1500 N. 50 St., Philadelphia

FEMA mitigation specialists are available for face-to-face consultation in Lowe’s stores at the following locations through Nov. 14.

Once you have as much information as possible on damage-reduction methods and know which will work for your structure, decide on how much you will have to spend to accomplish your retrofitting goals.

Finances should not be a stumbling block to homeowners, according to Federal Coordinating Officer

Thomas J. McCool. “Individuals who want to protect their home by retrofitting should consider FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Policy-holders may qualify for Increased Cost of Compliance coverage for substantially damaged properties, which helps pay for some types of retrofitting,” McCool said. Loans and help with insurance payments may also be available.

For more information on floodproofing your home, order the Homeowner’s Guide to Retrofitting, Publication 312, by calling FEMA at 1-800-480-2520. For information on NFIP call 1-800-CALL-FLOOD ext. 304 or visit FEMA’s Web site at

If you had damage from Hurricane Irene or Tropical Storm Lee and have not registered with FEMA, call 1-800-621-3362 or TTY 1-800-462-7585. If you use 711 or Video Relay Service (VRS), call 1-800-621-3362. Operators a...

Last Updated: 
July 16, 2012 - 18:46
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