FLOOD MITIGATION MEASURES
With a higher than expected rainfall in the next coming months it is important that we all prepare for flood events. Here are some short-term and long-term measures you can implement to mitigate these events.
- PLAN! Make sure you have a plan in place to deal with a flood
- Form a team of responsible persons to deal with flooding events that can be called out if necessary
- Regularly clear debris from drains, ditches, downspouts and gutters
- Keep sandbags nearby
- Have a ready supply of Potable water at all times
- Install electrical outlets about 3-4 ft. from ground level
- Install flood skirts, flood barriers and flood warning systems (e.g. water sensors or flood detection systems)
- Consider installing a battery backup or generator for business to continue as usual.
- Elevate the existing buildings and equipment and/or incorporate flood mitigation strategies into the original design
- Install platforms on the floor to elevate the equipment/stock in place
- Relocate systems to a higher elevation in a different building
- Construct Flood Walls
- Inspect and upgrade drainage and grading
- Consider Building relocation / building elevation
A question you should ask yourself is “Are we covering everything that can be affected by flood damage?” Now might be a good time to review your assets, their various locations and whether or not they are prone to damage arising out of a flood. We can help by visiting your home or business to guide you on the steps you should take to ensure that these items are adequately covered under a property policy.
What is an earthquake? An earthquake is what happens when two blocks of the earth suddenly slip past one another. The surface where they slip is called the fault or fault plane. The location below the earth’s surface where the earthquake starts is called the hypocenter, and the location directly above it on the surface of the earth is called the epicenter.
Foreshocks are smaller earthquakes that happen in the same place as the larger earthquake that follows. The largest, main earthquake is called the Mainshock. Aftershocks are smaller earthquakes that occur afterwards in the same place as the mainshock. Depending on the size of the mainshock, aftershocks can continue for weeks, months, and even years after the mainshock! It’s important to be prepared for an earthquake no matter where you live.
Before an Earthquake :
- Know your risk. Seismic hazards include the following:
- Steep hills that could turn into landslides.
- Ocean fronts that could bring in tsunami waves.
- Poorly constructed buildings that could result in damage and injuries.
- Retrofit and reinforce your house.
- Bolt your house to the foundation and reinforce support beams as needed.
- Secure furniture such as bookshelves and cabinets to the walls. This will decrease the risk of furniture moving or falling and injuring someone.
- Create a disaster plan. Earthquake preparedness can help reduce anxiety and minimize injury. Teach your family members the cover strategy discussed further down in this article. Also, designate a safe place to meet outside of the house after the shaking stops.
- Put together an emergency kit. Your kit should include:
- Non-perishable food
- First aid supplies
- Camping supplies (battery-powered lantern, etc.)
- Extra batteries
- Any personal items you may need (medications, toiletries, clothing)
- Plan a week's worth of supplies for each person. You'll need at least four gallons of drinking water per person for a week. Pack supplies for your pets as well.
During an Earthquake :
- Stay away from hazards. One of the biggest hazards during an earthquake is falling debris and furniture.
- Avoid places that have objects stored overhead. Kitchens and garages are dangerous because of the items stored in overhead cabinets and shelves.
- Stay away from windows and furniture that could fall over.
- Take cover in a safe place. Take these three steps when you feel the ground shake.
- Drop. Get down on your hands and knees. This can help keep you from being knocked over or losing your balance. It can also help protect your vital organs.
- Cover. Place your hand on the back of your head and neck.
- Crawl to shelter such as a table or desk. If there is no shelter nearby, crawl against a wall, but avoid windows.
- Hold on. If you’re under shelter, hold on to it with one hand. Keep your other hand on the back of your head and neck.
- If you do not have shelter, stay on your knees and elbows and cover the back of your head and neck with both hands.
- Stay inside. Do not go outside until after the shaking stops.
- Stay under cover, or in place with your hands over your head and neck.
After an Earthquake :
- Be prepared for aftershocks.
- Check your gas lines. Make sure there are no leaks. If you smell gas leaking, turn it off if possible, and call the gas company.
- Wear shoes. You may have broken glass or spilled chemicals on the floor of your house as a result of the earthquake.
- Document the damage. Be sure to take photos or video of the damage to use during your insurance claim process.
- Check out www.earthquaketrack.com to see the frequency and history of earthquakes.
- Also check out the ODPM website for some more tips and updates.
What is a Hurricane?
A hurricane is a type of storm called a tropical cyclone, which forms near the equator over warm ocean waters. When the maximum sustained winds of a tropical storm reach 74 miles per hour, it’s called a hurricane. Hurricane Season begins on June 1 and ends on November 30, but these powerful storms can occur before and after the official season.
Before a Hurricane:
If You Need to Evacuate take the advice of local authorities and Evacuate if ordered. If an evacuation is necessary,
- Take photos or videos of your home before a disaster strikes to properly record the condition of the home and Email the photos to yourself, a friend or a relative.
- Locate a safe room or the safest areas of your home or for each hurricane hazard. The safest areas may not actually be your home, but within your community.
- Know your home's vulnerability to storm surge, flooding, and wind.
- Build or restock an emergency preparedness kit.
- Stock non-perishable food supplies, bottled water, a first-aid kit, a battery-powered radio, flashlights and extra batteries in air-tight containers.
- Adjust refrigerator temperatures to the coldest settings to reduce the potential for food spoiling if the power is temporarily lost.
- Have drinking water ready for use and fill bathtubs/sinks with water to ensure you have enough to flush the toilet, cook, etc. in case of a power outage.
- Bring in items, such as outdoor furniture, that the wind can blow away.
- Be sure to keep your primary vehicle in good working condition and keep the gas tank full. Stock it with emergency supplies and a fresh change of clothes.
- Plan how to communicate with family members if you lose power – even consider building an emergency communication plan. Have a non-electric analog telephone or a fully-charged cell phone available in case you need to make an emergency call during a power outage.
- Unplug all appliances, TV's and computers before leaving your home.
- Move important items to a higher floor or surface such as a counter or shelf.
- Remove fuses from the air conditioning system to prevent damage.
- Turn off water to prevent flooding from broken pipes.
- Turn off gas to prevent leaks from occurring.
- Determine escape routes from your home and a nearby place to meet with loved ones.
During a Hurricane:
- Monitor the radio or television for weather conditions and updates.
- Stay away from all windows and exterior doors and seek shelter in a bathroom or basement.
- Bathtubs can provide some shelter if you cover yourself with plywood or other materials.
- Evacuate to a shelter or a neighbor's home if your home is damaged or if you are instructed to do so by emergency personnel.
- If power is lost, turn off all major appliances to reduce the chances of damage in the event of a power surge.
- If flooding nears your home, turn off the electricity at the main breaker.
- If you are outside, move to higher ground and do not walk, swim or drive through floodwater.
After a Hurricane:
- When power returns to your home, do not start all major appliances at once.
- Turn them on gradually to reduce damage to sensitive equipment.
- Even if you have ventilation, never use a generator indoors. This includes garages, basements and crawlspaces.
- Exhaust fumes contain high levels of carbon monoxide, which can be deadly if inhaled.
- Even when left outside, keep generators away from doors and windows and at least 10 feet away from your home.
- Also, allow your generator to cool off before refilling it with gas – splashing gas on hot generator components can lead to a fire.
- Do not use electrical or gas appliances that have been wet.
- Do not turn on damaged appliances because of the hazards of electric shock or fire.
- Follow post-storm food and water safety precautions to protect your family from contamination.
- Take photographs of any damage incurred.
- Avoid walking or driving through floodwaters.
- Just six inches of moving water can knock you over and fast-moving water can sweep your vehicle away.
- Avoid any floodwater that may be electrically charged from underground or downed power lines.
- In addition, be extra vigilant as floodwater could be hiding harmful contaminates and dangerous debris.
- Only return home when authorities indicate it is safe. Be sure to keep in touch with friends and family so they know that you are safe.
- Avoid downed, damaged or loose power lines and report them immediately to the local police and fire department, as well as to the local transmission and distribution services utility in your area.
Avoid these dangerous actions and stay safe:
What NOT to do during a Hurricane?
Get more weather preparedness tips from the ODPM website.
- Do not handle electrical equipment and do not use the telephone except in an emergency.
- Do not go outside, even if the storm appears to have subsided. The calm or the "eye" of the storm can pass quickly, leaving you outside when intense winds resume.
- Do not use candles during the storm - they could cause a fire. Stick with battery operated flashlights.
- Do not walk, swim or drive through flood waters. Six to twelve inches of water is all it takes to take you down or flood your car.