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National Preparedness Month: Teach Your Children Flood Safety

Wednesday, September 4th, 2019

Are you ready for National Preparedness Month?  Sponsored by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), September is the designated month each year to encourage readiness for potential natural disasters. The theme for 2019 is “Prepared, Not Scared.”  

In the U.S., floods typically kill about 100 persons every year, far exceeding the death toll caused by any other natural hazard including tornadoes and hurricanes. To make sure everyone in the family is aware of the potential danger, it’s important to include children when providing information on how to stay safe in the event of a flood. Here are some suggestions from FEMA and the American Red Cross.

  • Explain to kids that flash floods may happen very suddenly with little warning. Or, floods may develop more slowly, such as flooding associated with extended rainy periods or events such as rapidly melting snow.
  • It’s important to note that storms or heavy rain far away may cause streams and rivers nearby to overflow—even when it’s not raining close to home at the moment.
  • Children should avoid all contact with floodwater outdoors and indoors.  Emphasize that floodwater flowing outside may be strong enough to knock down a person and carry them away. Talk about the dangers of chemicals and germs present in floodwater that could make them sick, as well as poisonous snakes and other possible threats such as electrical shocks.
  • Encourage kids to remind parents and other adults not to drive through floodwater even when it appears shallow. “Turn around, don’t drown” is an easy-to-remember slogan for children to pass along to adults and keep the whole family safe.
  • Kids should be fully informed about the family plan in the event of a flood. They should know where the family will go to seek shelter and what each person in the family will do if a flood occurs. Children should also know the names and phone numbers of specified responsible adults to contact in the event of an emergency such as a flood if a parent isn’t available at the time.

What Kind Of Flood Protection Do I Need For My House?

Thursday, April 12th, 2018

flood protectionWhether you live in a climate that sees heavy rains or you just want to avoid damage from a backed-up toilet or broken pipe, flood protection is worth the investment. Some of the most effective precautions are as simple as basic home maintenance.

Keep the Water Out

There’s a lot you can do to prevent floor water from entering your home. Grade the ground around your house at a slope of around 1 inch per foot for 6 feet to direct water away from the foundation. Keep your gutters clean and make sure your downspouts extend at least 3 feet away from your house.

Have a sump pump with a battery backup installed in the lowest point of your basement or crawlspace. The pump will automatically switch on when it fills with water and pump the water away from house. Also consider a backwater valve, which prevents sewage from backing up into your home during heavy rainfall.

Protect Your Interior

With a few extra precautions, you can protect your home from damage even if it does flood. Firmly secure your major appliances, such as your furnace, water heater, and washing machine to platforms at least a foot above your local base flood elevation as determined by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

Ideally, all your wiring and electrical components should be a foot above base flood level, but when this isn’t possible, check that wiring in parts of the house that might flood are rated for underground use and that your outlets are ground fault interrupters.

For extra flood protection, waterproofing coatings are also an option. These are applied to your walls to prevent water from penetrating.

Consider installing a water leak detection and alarm system. These system are based on water-sensors usually placed near water-using appliances, plumbing fixtures, and leak-prone areas such as the basement or attic. When the system senses water nearby, it alerts you with an alarm. Some even turn off your house’s water supply, preventing flooding when you’re away.

Hurricane Season Is Coming – Protect Your Home From Flooding!

Tuesday, September 5th, 2017

flooded houseTo protect your home from flooding during hurricane season, you need to begin now. Hurricanes pose a double-whammy of water damage risk. Extremely heavy rainfall for a prolonged period is often associated with hurricanes, particularly as the storm front tends to stall after it makes landfall. The other, more devastating potential is a storm surge. This fast-rising “instant flood” driven by high winds pushes a wall of ocean water as far as 10 miles or more inland.

Most experts agree: By the time a hurricane watch is officially issued, it’s already too late to begin meaningful preparations to protect your home from flooding. While there’s still time, here are some suggestions to reduce the risks now:

  • Landscape accordingly. The contour of your landscaping should divert flood water away from the home on all sides. Also, soil type matters. Porous ground allows water to soak in before it inundates your home versus clay-like soil that resists absorption.
  • Get a sump pump. Hydrostatic pressure from deep water in a flooded basement can destroy the foundation. A sump pump with back-up battery power (assume that utility power will be interrupted) can remove water as it arrives, preventing major damage.
  • Install sewage backflow prevention valves. When the municipal sewage system is swamped during a hurricane, sewage often flows backwards, flooding houses connected to the system. A backflow valve releases reflux into your yard, preventing interior flooding.
  • Protect major entry points. Install storm windows or have 3/4-inch plywood already cut to size and pre-drilled to cover all windows. Also, get a hurricane-resistant garage door. A blown-out garage door can give heavy, wind-blown rain access to the interior of your home and expedite flooding.
  • Elevate critical systems. In hurricane risk zones, the main electrical panel, HVAC systems and water heater should not be in a basement. Relocate to an upper floor to prevent damage.
  • Add flood vents. Automatic flood vents allow moving floodwater to freely flow into and out of the crawl space under the house, reducing damaging pressure against the structure.

For more about effective measures to protect your home from flooding, contact Rytech, Inc.

What To Do In A Flood – A Checklist For Your Emergency Kit!

Thursday, August 24th, 2017

emeergency kitKnowing what to do in a flood is vital information wherever you live. Floods are the number one natural disaster in the U.S. Yet, fully 25% of flood insurance claims originate outside areas officially designated as high-risk zones on flood maps. Moreover, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), no-risk zones don’t exist: Some flood potential is always present, no matter where you may live.

Professional advice for what to do in a flood stresses advance preparation. Flooding is frequently not a predictable phenomenon that offers extensive early warning to get ready. Assembling an emergency kit now, before a crisis looms, ensures you’ll be prepared when the time comes and ready to focus on other important matters. Here’s a checklist of things to include in a flood emergency kit.

  • Three-day supply of water and food. Figure one gallon of water per person per day. Food should be non-perishable suitable for long storage. Remember never to use charcoal as a cooking fuel inside the house due to danger of deadly carbon monoxide fumes emitted by burning charcoal.
  • Disposable plates and cups as well as eating utensils.
  • A radio that can be powered by hand crank. Models that also incorporate a flashlight and cell phone charger are particularly useful.
  • Flashlights (one for each person) and extra batteries. Check the expiration date on the batteries and replace them in storage when they expire.
  • A first-aid kit appropriate to the number of persons in the household and any special needs such as specific medications. Also include implements like tweezers and scissors.
  • Personal hygiene items such as toothbrushes and tooth paste, toilet papers and towelettes.
  • Matches in a sealed waterproof packet.
  • Coins and cash in smaller denominations. ATMs may be non-functional following a flood and merchants may also be unable to take larger bills. Also have photocopies of ID cards for every adult in the house.
  • Extra house keys. Sleeping accommodations such as sleeping bags and/or blankets appropriate to local weather.

For more advice about what to do in a flood as well as professional recovery services in the aftermath, contact Rytech, Inc.

 

6 Preventive Measures Homeowners Can Take Against Flood Damage

Monday, December 23rd, 2013

flood areaWhile the services of a professional water restoration expert are irreplaceable after flooding strikes, steps to prevent flood damage can be even more crucial. Almost any home in a normal setting can be vulnerable to flooding under the right circumstances. Just because it hasn’t happened yet, doesn’t mean it won’t. Don’t be caught unprepared. Before the water rises, take these six steps to prevent flood damage. (more…)