[StBernard] National Flood Safety Awareness Week (March 19-23, 2007)

Westley Annis westley at da-parish.com
Mon Mar 19 23:20:20 EDT 2007

National Flood Safety Awareness Week (March 19-23, 2007)

Washington, D.C. -- The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
(NOAA)-sponsored 2007 National Flood Safety Awareness Week, takes place from
March 19-23. Within this week, Thursday, March 22 is Flood Insurance Day-the
perfect time to remind residents about their flood risks, how to prepare and
protect themselves as winter rainy season ends, and spring thaw, snowmelt,
and hurricane season begins.

According to the NOAA National Weather Service's spring predictions, the
upper Midwest is currently in the middle of its snowmelt. Warmer than normal
temperatures in recent weeks have increased the risk of flooding due to ice
jams over portions of the region.

Flooding is the nation's number one natural disaster, occurring both inland
and on the coast. It's important to note that flash floods, inland flooding
and seasonal storms flood every region of the country. Twenty to 25 percent
of all flood insurance claims are filed in low-to-moderate flood-risk areas.

Flooding causes damage and destruction across regions nationwide-wiping out
homes, businesses and personal financial resources. Property owners and
renters need to know that they can take steps to protect their property and
financial security before disaster strikes. However, many eligible residents
are unaware that they qualify or that affordable flood insurance is

Residents can begin to take steps now to protect their home and assets from
rising floodwaters at any time.

* Reduce your home's flood risk through home maintenance or improvements:

* Make sure gutters and drains are cleared. Clean and maintain storm drains
and gutters and remove debris from your property to allow free flow of
potential floodwater.

* Move valuables and sentimental items to the highest floor of your home or

* Install backflow valves in waste lines to keep water flowing in one

* Protect your well from contamination.

* Anchor or elevate fuel tanks and elevate the main breaker or fuse box and
the utility meters above the anticipated flood level in your home or
business, so that floodwater won't damage your utilities.

* Make sure you have the right insurance: Review your insurance policies and
find out what they do and do not cover. Learn the difference between
replacement cost coverage versus standard coverage, which only pays the
actual cash value of insured property. Be sure that you have enough
insurance to cover recent home renovations or improvements. Know that most
homeowners insurance polices do not cover flood damage, so be sure to
consider flood insurance for both your structure and its contents. There is
typically a 30 day waiting period for a flood insurance policy to take

* Learn your flood risk. Properties that are not located within high-risk
areas can also flood. Find out your flood risk right now by entering your
address at FloodSmart.gov "Assess Your Risk." Insurance agents can also help
check your risk.

* Purchase a flood insurance policy. If you already have a flood policy,
remember: your policy needs to be renewed each year.

* More than 20,200 communities in all 50 U.S. states and its territories
voluntarily participate in the NFIP, representing about 95 percent of all
properties in the nation's high-risk areas.

* Plan for evacuation: Plan and practice a flood evacuation route, ask
someone out of state to be your "family contact" in an emergency, and make
sure everyone knows the contact's address and phone number.

* Build an emergency supply kit: Food, bottled water, first aid supplies,
medicines, and a battery-operated radio should be ready to go when you are.

* Inventory your household possessions: For insurance purposes, be sure to
keep a written and visual (i.e., videotaped or photographed) record of all
major household items and valuables, even those stored in basements, attics
or garages. Create files that include serial numbers and store receipts for
major appliances and electronics. Have jewelry and artwork appraised. These
documents are critically important when filing insurance claims.

* Protect important financial documents: Store copies of irreplaceable
financial and family documents in a safe place, preferably one that is
protected from both fire and water. Documents include automobile titles, tax
records, stock and bond certificates, deeds, wills, trust agreements, birth
and marriage certificates, photos, passports and insurance policies. Keep
originals in a rented safe deposit box. And don't forget the household
inventory file!

NOAA's predictions state that portions of eastern South Dakota, eastern
Iowa, southeastern Minnesota, southern Wisconsin and northern Illinois are
at risk of flooding. In addition, high soil moisture over northeastern Ohio
and northwestern Pennsylvania and extreme southwestern New York state could
lead to flooding if additional heavy precipitation occurs. Also, there is a
flooding potential for southeast Colorado because the soil moisture is high,
due to the melting of an above normal snowpack, which resulted from record
snowfall in the state in December and January.

Flood insurance is available through nearly 100 insurance companies in more
than 20,200 participating communities nationwide. Everyone can purchase
flood insurance - renters, business owners, and homeowners. The average
flood insurance policy costs around $500 a year. And in low- to
moderate-risk areas, lower-cost Preferred Risk Policies (PRPs) start at just
$112 a year. Individuals can learn more about their flood risk and how to
protect their property by visiting FloodSmart.gov or by calling

FEMA manages federal response and recovery efforts following any national
incident. FEMA also initiates mitigation activities, works with state and
local emergency managers, and manages the National Flood Insurance Program.
FEMA became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on March 1,

More information about the StBernard mailing list