Our agencies, along with other Federal, State, local agencies, volunteer and faith-based groups, and the private sector, are emphasizing flood safety this week.
Since last year’s flood season, FEMA has been working with all our state partners on incorporating lessons learned from the past flood seasons into our emergency planning for this year, and emphasizing the important role that the public has in those emergency plans.
And since February, our regional offices have been conducting aggressive outreach, along with our federal, state and local counterparts, emergency managers, and representatives from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the National Guard and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, about the importance of personal preparedness.
It’s of particular importance this year because many communities have already experienced flooding as snow melts and spring rains come. National Weather Service forecasts are calling for a particularly busy spring flooding season for the upper Midwest eastward through New England, but this message isn’t only for that area of the country.
Flooding is the most common natural disaster in the U.S., and causes billions of dollars in damage each year for families and businesses. Whether you are a homeowner, renter, or business owner, there are steps you can take to reduce the damage a potential flood may inflict.
We challenge you to take these three easy steps to get prepared for flooding:
- Know your risk – Look for the updated NOAA Spring Outlook tomorrow on http://www.weather.gov/, and understand the current flood risk in your area by monitoring National Weather Service river forecasts and flood warnings. Another useful site for learning your risk for flooding is FloodSmart.gov, where you can enter an address and learn its flood risk profile.
And as always, when severe weather strikes, we urge all individuals in the region to listen to NOAA Weather Radio and their local news to monitor for updates and follow the directions provided by their local officials.
- Make an emergency kit – If you wait until your community has a flood warning to prepare for flooding, it’s unlikely you will be able to take the necessary precautions in time. FEMA’s preparedness website, Ready.gov, has tips for how you and your family can prepare before a flood strikes. Specifically, an emergency kit (containing non-perishable food items, flashlight, hand-crank radio, airtight container for important documents, and other items) can prove invaluable if your home is flooded.
- Insure your property by purchasing flood insurance – Many people may not think of insurance as a way to be prepared, but it can be crucial in helping individuals and communities recover quickly. Homeowner’s insurance typically does not cover damage or losses from flooding, so contact your insurance agent to find out more. Flood insurance policies normally take 30 days to become effective, so it’s important to consider flood insurance before flooding hits.
Floods occur somewhere in the United States or its territories nearly every day of the year. So be prepared and be FloodSmart by taking action on the three steps above to reduce the impact a flood will have on you, your family or your business.
- Craig and Jack