Protecting Your Home From Floods
Getting Flood Insurance
Rain damage from a tropical storm might be covered under flood insurance, and not homeowners or hurricane insurance. To learn more about insurance, contact FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program at 1-888-CALL-FLOOD, or contact your local insurance agent. Do this now!
Maps are available for almost every urban area in the United States—called Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMS)—that will show you whether your home is in a high flood hazard area.
Clean and maintain storm drains and gutters and remove debris from your property to allow free flow of potential flood water. In the Big Island’s November 2000 storm, many homes were flooded when plant debris that had been accumulating in dry channels over the years was washed into culverts; the debris then became trapped, forcing the water to jump out of the channels.
Waterproofing Walls and Anchoring Your Water Tank
Add a waterproof veneer to the exterior walls and seal all openings, including doors, to prevent the entry of water. Anchor your water tank as you would for an earthquake. An unanchored tank outside your house can be driven into your walls, and it can be swept downstream, where it can damage other houses.
Check with your local home improvement store for assistance.
Elevating your main breaker and valuables
While major flooding can do tremendous damage, don’t forget that minor flooding can also be a nuisance if the water comes into your home. Keep non-waterproof items at least three inches off the floor so that water seeping in cannot damage them. Elevate the main breaker or fuse box and the utility meters above the anticipated flood level in your home or business, so that flood water won’t damage your utilities.