Flooding is the most common natural disaster in the United States, causing billions of dollars in damage each year. Anyone who has experienced flooding knows how damaging flood waters can be. And floods are not just isolated to river flooding, heavy rain can bring dangerous flash floods.

The Racine County Office of Emergency Management is urging everyone to think about how to protect themselves and their property during Flood Safety Awareness Week, March 15-19. This year’s Flood Safety Awareness Week comes as officials in Racine County and southeastern Wisconsin monitor water conditions on rivers and streams throughout the region as the winter thaw has started.

“We have seen first-hand how destructive flooding can be,” said David Maack, Racine County Emergency Management Coordinator. “The 2017 floods in Burlington disrupted many lives and cost residents, businesses and the community millions of dollars in damage, lost wages and production.”

Every homeowner and business should plan ahead to mitigate the damaging effect of floods. Identify an evacuation route and have a place to go if you must leave your home. Put together an emergency supplies kit that you can take with you. Don’t forget about the needs of pets and obtain extra batteries and charging devices for phones and other critical equipment.

Being adequately insured will go a long way in recovering from a flood. Just an inch of water in a home can cause thousands of dollars in damage, which many homeowners and renters insurance policies will not cover.  Purchase or renew a flood insurance policy.  It typically takes up to 30 days for a policy to go into effect and can protect the life you’ve built. In addition, look at getting a rider to cover water and sewer back up.

You can find more information about flood insurance at https://www.floodsmart.gov/.

Keep important documents in a waterproof container. And create password-protected digital copies. Move valuables to higher levels and consider raising up appliances, water heaters and furnaces. Remove debris from drains and gutters. Install check valves and consider a sump pump with a battery.

Do not walk, swim, or drive through flood waters. Turn Around. Don’t Drown! Just six inches of fast-moving water can knock over an adult, while 12 inches can carry away a small car. Remember that driving into floodwaters puts your life and the lives of first responders at risk. More than half of flood fatalities are vehicle related. Driving through floodwaters also puts your vehicle at risk of severe damage. Stay off bridges over fast-moving water. Fast-moving water can wash bridges away without warning. If your vehicle is trapped in rapidly moving water, then stay inside.

For more tips on emergency preparedness, head to readyracineco.com. You can also follow us on social media at Facebook.com/ReadyRacineCo.


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