Flood Awareness & Preparedness Tips
The month of February brought a lot of snow to the state of Oregon. Here in the valley, some areas were hit with over a foot of snow and the mountain ranges were hit extremely hard. As the first day of spring approaches on March 20th, we thought it would be important to share some preparedness tips to help prevent flooding at your home or business.
A flood can occur at any time, often with little or no warning. During the spring, factors such as heavy rains, rapid snow-melt and dam erosion can increase the risk of seasonal flooding. As warmer weather approaches, now is the time of year to take proactive steps that can reduce flood damage to your property. Flood insurance is recommended for property owners who live in designated flood zones, but effective flood preparedness doesn’t stop there. Reducing the potential impact of flooding in advance can save time, money and even lives in the long run.
We recommend the following flood preparedness tips for property and construction projects to help minimize the potential damage to your home or business in the future.
1. Use Flood Damage-Resistant Materials
Certain construction materials can help reduce the amount of water damage your home or business suffers in the event of a flood. These special materials can handle direct contact with floodwaters for up to 72 hours without sustaining the kind of significant damage that will require major repairs. Here are the top flood-resistant materials to consider before building or remodeling certain areas of your property:
- Floors: Use concrete, pressure-treated lumber, or clay and ceramic tiles.
- Walls & Ceilings: Use brick, metal, concrete and stone.
- Doors: Use hollow metal doors and cabinets instead of solid wood.
- Surfaces: Use polyester epoxy paint for added protection. Raise Electrical System Components
2. Raise Electrical System Components
Water and electricity don’t mix, which means floods can wreak havoc on your property’s electrical system. You could face thousands of dollars in equipment repairs or even fall victim to a devastating fire sparked by live wires coming into direct contact with water. Raising your electrical system components can go a long way toward protecting your property when water gets involved. Follow these tips to get started:
- Ideally, all electrical components should be raised approximately one foot above the 100-year flood level.
- Consult with a licensed professional to find out how high you can move electrical meters, switches and outlets. Your local power company can also help you determine how high you can raise your power meter.
- Upgrade your fuse box to a more modern circuit breaker system so it can handle high fluctuations in power.
3. Utilize Sewer Back-flow Valves
Sometimes floodwaters can cause sewage from your sewer lines to back up, pushing contaminated water back through drainage pipes and into your home or business. This damage is not only costly, but also a serious health risk. Installing a back-flow valve can prevent overloaded drain pipes from pushing return flow into your property. Configurations range from simple flap-style valves to complex gate valves and those with both. Consider the following tips before choosing your new sewer back-flow valve:
- Look for complex valve designs that use both flap and gate styles for extra protection.
- All valves should be installed on the main waste drain pipes leaving your building, or lines connected to equipment below the designated flood level.
- Only allow a licensed plumbing company to make alterations to your plumbing or sewer lines.
- Structures with sump pumps use underground lines, which may be more difficult to seal.
Wherever you live or work, a flood could affect you. Having the right preparations in place can help reduce damage to your property during a flood and mitigate safety risks for your family or coworkers. Once the waters have subsided, you can depend on the professionals at ServiceMaster Restore to help reverse any damage your property did sustain. Our expert teams are available 24/7/365 to provide the help you need to get your property back to normal as soon as possible after a flood.