FEMA Advises to Beware of Flooding

January 7, 2005

Dangerous flooding and snowstorms are occurring across the country this week.

Although people might first think of flooding as a summertime occurrence, winter flooding causes millions and sometimes billions of dollars of damage each year. No area of the country is immune from winter flooding. It affects California during its rainy season in the winter, in New England through Nor’Easters and across the country by excessive rain and mid-winter thaws.

Since 2000, there have been 13 Federally Declared Disasters due to winter flooding and over the past 10 years the National Flood Insurance Program has paid an average of $100 million in losses per year to policyholders due to winter flooding disasters.

“As we are seeing across the country, winter rains can be sudden and surprisingly intense,” said David Maurstad, FEMA’s acting director of Mitigation. “Residents should know how to prepare for these storms, and should be aware that their homeowners’ insurance does not cover flood damage.”

FEMA offers the following tips to prepare for winter flooding:

Before the storm

* Have a safety kit with drinking water, a first aid kit, canned food,
radio, flashlight, and blankets ready to go.

* Know safe routes from home, work, and school on high ground.

* Protect one’s property. Make sure that the flood insurance policy is up to date.

During the storm

* Avoid areas subject to sudden flooding.

* Do not try to walk across running water more than six inches deep.

* Do not drive into flooded areas. If the car stalls, abandon it immediately — if possible — and seek higher ground.

After the storm

* Do not turn electricity back on in the home if smelling gas or if the
electrical system has been flooded.

* Clean and disinfect everything that was touched by floodwaters or
mudflows and throw out any such foodstuffs.

* Follow directions from local officials regarding the safety of drinking

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