Marylanders face an increased risk of flooding for several reasons. Flash floods (short periods of heavy rain) and general flooding (more prolonged steady rain) fill up our streams and rivers. Major rivers such as the Potomac and Susquehanna often flood here because of rain in far areas of the watershed. Lastly, hurricanes and tropical storms can cause surges that create tidal flooding along Maryland’s bays and their tributaries.
Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) has some excellent maps to help you assess your neighborhood’s risk of flooding. Check out these tips to keep your home and family safe:
When you can plan ahead, place expensive and vulnerable electronics and appliances up high in your home and within the room.
Anchor those oil and propane tanks. Unsecured fuel tanks can break free in a flood, cause damage to your structures, float off your property to damage others, and create a fire hazard. FEMA recommends 1) mounting storage tanks on heavy concrete slabs, or 2) using an auger system to secure them to ground anchor bolts.
If you live in a mobile home, or a cottage of pier and beam construction, make sure the home is securely bolted to its foundation, or fasten around the frame with steel bands attached to steel rods screwed several feet into the ground.
Varnish creates a barrier to reduce the amount of water that soaks in, which will, in turn, cut down on all the mold and bacteria that form when flood waters recede. Even if you don’t have hardwood floors, you’ll still benefit by applying a coating of varnish to all unpainted wooden doors and cabinets. Inspect for damage and replace any opportunities for flood waters to enter. New watertight shields with heavy rubber seals are also available for doors and windows, which can be a major source of leakage.
According to the Calvert County Health Department, citizens can take responsibility to protect themselves and their families by knowing what to do before, during, and after an event. Emergency preparedness involves:
The Center for Disease Control (CDC), recommends making a communication plan and a disaster plan for your family. Ask an out-of-state relative or friend to be the “family contact” in case your family is separated during a flood. Make sure everyone in your family knows the name, address, and phone number of this contact person. Then plan and practice a flood evacuation route with your family.
Although you plan ahead, disasters can still strike your home. If you have had a flood, you will need more than a cleaning crew or a general contractor, you need a team to act as your advocate with through all the steps of the process. Lessen your stress by contracting with a central resource familiar with insurance companies, agents, adjusters, and all the many others involved in a loss. In southern Maryland, that team is Regional Property Group. Call 410-449-7840 or visit regionalpropertygroup.com
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