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Sep 11

How to protect yourself and property from flooding

Posted on September 11, 2014 at 12:36 PM by OCOM Specialist

By Joanna Grey, Customer Service Representative

If your property is located in the Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) or prone to flooding it is important to be aware of the potential danger and to prepare for it. To verify if your property is in the SFHA you may view the Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM). You may also view it in the Department of Public Works at City Hall (Suite 100 West).

As suggested by FEMA, to prepare for a flood, you should:
  • Elevate the furnace, water heater, and electric panel at least 12 inches above the projected flood elevation.
  • Install "check valves" in sewer traps to prevent floodwater from backing up into the drains of your home.
  • Seal the walls in your basement with waterproofing compounds to avoid seepage.
  • Create a file in a safe deposit box or waterproof container that contains a copy of your insurance policy, insurance agent's contact information, a household inventory of valuables, and copies of all other critical documents.
In an event that a flood is likely in the area, you should:
  • Listen to the radio or television for emergency information.
  • Be aware that flash flooding can occur. If there is any possibility of a flash flood, move immediately to higher ground. Do not wait for instructions to move.
  • Be aware of streams, drainage channels, and other areas known to flood suddenly. Flash floods can occur in these areas with or without such typical warning as rain clouds or heavy rain.
If you must leave your home, remember these evacuation tips:
  • Do not walk through moving water. Six inches of moving water can make you fall. If you have to walk in water, walk where the water is not moving. Use a stick to check the firmness of the ground in front of you.
  • Do not drive into flooded areas. If flood waters rise around your car, abandon the car and move to higher ground if you can do so safely.
  • When driving in flood conditions remember:
    • Six inches of water will reach the bottom of most passenger cars causing possible loss of control or stalling.
    • A foot of water will float many vehicles.
    • Two feet of rushing water can carry away most vehicles, including SUV's and pick-up trucks.
If you have any questions please visit www.fallschurchva.gov/Floodplain and www.FloodSmart.gov.