Hurricane/Tropical Storm Douglas will be upon us in a matter of hours and if you are thinking that you should have bought flood insurance, well unfortunately there’s typically a 30-day waiting period from date of purchase until a flood insurance policy goes into effect. And homeowners and renter’s insurance do not typically cover flood damage. However, there is still time prepare yourself and your home from the potential effects of flooding from Hurricane/Tropical Storm Douglas.
Knowing your flood risk should be your first line of defense. Check FEMA’s Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRM) for starters to determine if you are in a high-risk or a low-to-moderate risk flood zone on the FIRM maps. The FIRMs use the best available data at the time to study and map the flood risk, however keep in mind Mother Nature ultimately decides what she wants to do when she want to show it. We always hope for the best, but should prepare for the worst, and be unsurprised by anything in between.
Using your existing supplies at home, prepare your property for Douglas by:
- Clearing your gutters, downspouts, and drains of debris;
- If your home is on a post and pier foundation, clear clutter from under and around the perimeter of your home to allow flood waters to flow freely under the house;
- Store household chemicals at a higher location above the anticipated flood level;
- Raise furniture and appliances on an elevated surface (i.e. Concrete blocks) or consider moving to a higher floor if home has a second floor. If these items are near a window and you have spare tarp or plastic sheeting, consider covering them.
- Unplug ground floor electronics and store in large plastic tubs or coolers, then elevate above anticipate flood level or take to second floor;
- Move your favorite books, pictures, or other collectibles from the lower level bookshelves or drawers; and raise above anticipated flood level;
- Place important documents such as insurance papers, social security cards, passports, birth certificates, and old irreplaceable photos in a plastic bag or food storage containers; and raise above anticipated flood level.
Property owners – You can continue to store your valuable household items strategically within your home to protect them from the impending storm. Simply stand in the lower level of the house and look around the doorways and windows. Imagine if flood waters began seeping in from under the doors or if rainwater entered the house through cracked windows. What items do you see yourself running over to and trying to protect from getting damaged from flood? And how would you prevent them from getting wet?
- National Flood Insurance Program (Floodsmart.gov)
- National Flood Insurance Program Key Contacts
- FEMA Map Service Center
- Hawaii Flood Hazard Assessment Tool (FHAT)
- Hawaii Emergency Management Agency (HiEMA)