Allstate Warns Northern Calif. Residents on Minimizing Flood Danger, Damage

With Northern California rivers and reservoirs at their highest levels in seven years and with additional storms forecasted over the coming week, Allstate urges residents to be prepared in case floods threaten your family, home and belongings.

Be Prepared

* Learn how your community notifies residents of impending floods and listen for alerts and warnings.
* Make sure your family has a well-stocked emergency supply kit, including flashlights, a portable radio, batteries, food, first aid supplies and plenty of clean drinking water.
* Formulate an emergency communication plan for your family. Select a meeting location in a safe area away from the home in case family members are separated. Designate an out-of-town relative or friend as an emergency contact and make sure everyone in the family has the phone number.
* Learn how to shut off gas, electricity and water to your home in case you are instructed to do so by authorities.

For more information about getting prepared for disasters, visit your local Allstate agent to receive a copy of “10 Ways You Can Be Disaster Prepared,” a brochure produced by the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services and California First Lady Maria Shriver.

Getting prepared for a potential flood should also include reviewing insurance coverage with your agent. “Most homeowners policies do not cover flood damage, but reasonably priced protection may be available through the National Flood Insurance Program,” said Rich Halberg, spokesperson for Allstate Insurance Company in California. “Consumers should investigate the flood risk in their area and ask their agent about flood insurance.”

It is important to note that National Flood Insurance Program policies do not take effect until 30 days after the purchase date. “Buying a flood insurance policy today does not mean you’ll be covered for the storms expected this week,” Halberg said. “But keep in mind that the rainy season runs through March, and sometimes later into the spring.”

Be Safe

In the event of an imminent flood, take the following steps to keep your family safe and mitigate potential damage to your home and belongings:

* Above all else, listen closely to announcements from emergency management officials and obey all evacuation orders.
* Prepare to evacuate by assembling your emergency kit (remembering to include essential medications, cash and credit cards, and critical financial documents), reviewing the family evacuation and communications plan, and ensuring your vehicle’s gas tank is full.
* If instructed to do so by authorities, shut off gas, water and/or electricity to your home.
* If time allows, move outdoor possessions like bicycles and patio furniture indoors and elevate valuable furnishings and possessions to upper floors or higher ground.
* If advised to evacuate, do so immediately following the instructions given by authorities.
* Do not attempt to drive through flooded roads. More people drown in their cars than anywhere else during floods.
* Do not walk through floodwater. In many cases, people underestimate the power of even a small amount of moving water. Be especially careful with children.