How to protect your home to minimize water damage
Any home is prone to water damages, especially during huge storms that carry heavy rains and flooding. And while we cannot predict Mother Nature and her wrath, we can prepare as best we can to take precautions to keep us safe and to lessen the damages that flooding can cause.
For example, if you live in a low-lying ground adjacent to a river, or floodplain, it’s no surprise that your property is subject to flooding.
The American Red Cross offers these suggestions, in addition to checking with a professional to:
- Raise your furnace, water heater and electric panel to floors that are less likely to be flooded. An undamaged water heater may be your best source of fresh water after a flood.
- Install check valves in plumbing to prevent floodwater from backing up into the drains of your home. (As a last resort, when floods threaten, use large corks or stoppers to plug showers, tubs, or basins.)
- Construct barriers such as levees, berms and flood walls to stop floodwater from entering the building (if permitted by local building codes).
- Seal walls in basements with waterproofing compounds to avoid seepage through cracks.
- Use sand bags when flooding is expected. It takes two people about one hour to fill and place 100 sandbags, creating a wall 1 foot high and 20 feet long. Make sure you have enough sand, burlap or plastic bags, shovels, strong helpers, and time to place them properly.
If a flood is expected, some communities will offer free sandbags to residents. Be sure to watch or listen to the news so you can access these resources.
The American Red Cross also offers these tips to help Protect Your Family:
- Talk with your family about what to do if a flood watch or warning is issued. Discussing floods ahead of time helps reduce fear, especially for younger children.
- Ensure that every member of your family carries a Safe and Well wallet card.
- Make sure you have access to NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) radio broadcasts:
- Find an online NOAA radio station
- Search for a NOAA radio app in the Apple Store or Google Play
- Purchase a battery-powered or hand-crank NOAA radio in the Red Cross Store
- Find out if you are located in a floodplain, which is considered a Special Flood Hazard Area. If so, you are still eligible for flood insurance. Check with your city or county government (start with the Building or Planning Department) to review the Flood Insurance Rate Maps, published by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
- Find out if local streams or rivers flood easily.
- Keep insurance policies, documents and other valuables in a safe-deposit box. You may need quick, easy access to these documents. Keep them in a safe place less likely to be damaged during a flood. Take pictures on a phone and keep copies of important documents and files on a flash drive that you can carry with you on your house or car keys.
The American Red Cross and the Centers for Disease and Control (CDC) offer great resources for storm and fire prevention and response. Visit their webpages for more information:
Finally, when you are ready for storm damage cleanup and remediation, you can rely on SERVPRO of Laurel and SERVPRO of Greenbelt NE/Beltsville E. We are the area’s water & storm damage experts, as well as mold remediation and restoration. Large or small, we will restore your water-damaged property, residential or commercial, “Like it never even happened.”
Call us 24/7 at 301-323-8862 or 301-615-4884.