This week — Flood Safety Awareness Week — Liberty Countians can update their knowledge to help protect against floods.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration sponsors 2007 National Flood Safety Awareness Week, March 19-23. Within this week, Thursday is Flood Insurance Day. The whole week is to remind residents about their flood risks and how to prepare themselves as hurricane season begins soon.
Twenty to 25 percent of all flood insurance claims are filed in low-to-moderate flood-risk areas.
Residents can protect their home and assets from rising floodwaters by:
• Reducing your home’s flood risk through home maintenance or improvements.
• Making sure gutters and drains are cleared. Clean and maintain storm drains and gutters and remove debris from your property to allow free flow of potential floodwater.
• Move valuables and sentimental items to the highest floor of your home or business.
• Install backflow valves in waste lines to keep water flowing in one direction.
• Protect your well from contamination.
• Make sure you have the right insurance: Review your insurance policies and find out what they do and do not cover. Learn the difference between replacement cost coverage versus standard coverage, which only pays the actual cash value of insured property.
• Learn your flood risk. Properties that are not located within high-risk areas can also flood. Find out your flood risk right now by entering your address at FloodSmart.gov “Assess Your Risk.” Insurance agents can also help check your risk.
• Purchase a flood insurance policy. If you already have a flood policy, remember: your policy needs to be renewed each year.
• More than 20,200 communities in all 50 U.S. states and its territories voluntarily participate in the NFIP, representing about 95 percent of all properties in high-risk areas.
• Plan for evacuation: Plan and practice a flood evacuation route, ask someone out of state to be your “family contact” in an emergency, and make sure everyone knows the contact’s address and phone number.
• Build an emergency supply kit: Food, bottled water, first aid supplies, medicines, and a battery-operated radio should be ready to go when you are.
• Inventory your household possessions: For insurance purposes, be sure to keep a written and visual (videotape or photographs) record of all major household items and valuables, even those stored in basements, attics or garages. Create files that include serial numbers and store receipts for major appliances and electronics. Have jewelry and artwork appraised.
• Protect financial documents: Store copies of irreplaceable financial and family documents in a safe place, preferably one that is protected from both fire and water.