Mitigation: Minimizing the Effects of Ariz. Disaster

March 3, 2005

Residents of the northern and central parts of Arizona have been hard hit this winter by storms and flooding.

Information learned from these disasters can help those affected and those who were not affected this time to identify steps that could be taken now to lessen the damaging effects of unavoidable emergencies in the future.

Investing in preventive measures that reduce the impacts from the next disaster is called “mitigation”. There are many types of preparedness measures that are available to everyone. For example, developing a household disaster plan is a mitigation activity.

Some other mitigation measures that residents should consider are:

* Ask an insurance agent about the National Flood Insurance Program (regular homeowner’s insurance does NOT cover flood damage).
* Avoid building in a flood plain unless elevating and reinforcing the home.
* Seal walls in basement with waterproofing compounds to avoid seepage through cracks in the walls.
* Install storm windows or cover windows with plastic from the inside.
* Elevate water heaters and other electronic equipment if located in the basement.
* Call the county emergency manager to see if sand bags or other measures are available in case of flooding.
* If the home or belongings suffered damage in the storm or from the flood, mitigate further loss as quickly as possible. Taking mitigation steps now will help reduce the amount of structural damage to the home and financial loss from building damage should another disaster occur.

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