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9 Simple Precautions to Avoid Flood Damage

In Midland, Michigan, the memory of the 2020 flood event remains vivid in the hearts and minds of many residents. It was a stark reminder of nature's force and the importance of preparation. The catastrophic flooding impacted lives and underscored the urgency for homeowners to take proactive steps in protecting their homes against potential water damage.

While we cannot control the weather, we can prepare our homes to withstand its challenges. Here are effective precautions that every homeowner in Midland should consider to minimize flood damage.

1. Understand Flood Risks

The first step in flood prevention is understanding your home’s risk. Check flood maps available through FEMA or local government websites to determine if your property lies in a flood-prone area. Awareness of your home’s vulnerability allows you to tailor your flood defense strategies effectively.

2. Elevate Electrical Components

Raising electrical switches, sockets, circuit breakers, and wiring at least a foot above your home's expected flood level can prevent significant electrical damage during a flood. This preventive measure secures your electrical system and safeguards your family from the risk of electrocution.

3. Install Backflow Valves

Floodwater can enter homes through drains, toilets, and sinks. Installing backflow valves can prevent sewage from backing up into your home during flooding. These valves are designed to close automatically if floodwater tries to enter, keeping your interior spaces clean and dry.

4. Landscape with a Purpose

Strategic landscaping can significantly reduce flood risk. Use native plants and shrubs to create a rain garden that helps absorb excess water. Additionally, grading your lawn away from your house ensures water flows outward, preventing pooling around your foundation.

If your home is located in a common flood area, you might also consider installing a retaining wall or lawn drainage to further protect it.

5. Build Barriers

Sandbags and other barriers can be deployed when a flood is imminent, redirecting water away from your property. While not a permanent solution, they can provide temporary relief from minor flooding. Consider installing permanent floodwalls or levees for long-term protection, especially if your home is in a high-risk area.

6. Waterproof Your Basement

Basements are particularly vulnerable to flooding. Applying sealants to basement floors and walls can prevent water seepage. Installing a sump pump is also essential; it automatically pumps out water accumulating in the basement, keeping the area dry. You’ll also want to maintain your sump pump periodically to ensure it’ll operate properly when needed.

7. Inspect and Clean Gutters Regularly

Gutters play a critical role in directing rainwater away from your home. Clogged gutters can lead to water overflow, damaging your roof and siding and potentially leading to basement flooding. Ensure your gutters are clean and properly positioned to discharge water at least three feet away from your home’s foundation.

8. Prepare an Emergency Kit

Despite the best efforts to fortify homes against nature's unpredictable wrath, floods can still breach our defenses, often with little warning. This reality underscores the critical importance of being prepared for any eventuality. An emergency kit, meticulously assembled and readily accessible, can be a lifeline during such crises.

Prepare an emergency kit with essentials, including:

  • Drinking water: Clean drinking water is essential for survival. Store at least one gallon of water per person daily, meant to last several days. Water pouches or boxed water can also be convenient due to their longer shelf life and compact packaging.
  • Non-perishable food: Stock up on non-perishable items that require no refrigeration, preparation, or cooking and little or no water. Think ready-to-eat canned meats, fruits, vegetables, protein or fruit bars, dry cereal or granola, peanut butter, dried fruit, canned juices, non-perishable pasteurized milk, and high-energy foods.
  • Medications: Keep at least a week’s supply of prescription medications you and your family members may need, as well as over-the-counter medications like pain relievers, anti-diarrhea medication, antacids, or laxatives. Remember to check expiration dates regularly.
  • Flashlights and batteries: Power outages are common in flooding events. Durable, waterproof flashlights and a substantial battery stock ensure a reliable light source. Consider headlamps as well for hands-free operation.
  • Batteries: Have various types of batteries on hand, compatible with all battery-operated devices in your emergency kit, including flashlights, radios, and other essential gear. Rechargeable battery packs for smartphones and small electronic devices can also be invaluable.
  • Important documents: Gather copies of crucial documents such as insurance policies, identification cards, bank account records, and health records. Store them in waterproof containers or plastic bags to prevent water damage. This precaution makes it easier to file insurance claims or prove ownership if necessary.

Creating and maintaining an emergency kit tailored to your family's specific needs provides practical assistance in the immediate aftermath of a flood and imparts a sense of security and control during otherwise uncertain times. Knowing you're prepared can significantly reduce stress and anxiety, allowing you to focus on keeping yourself and your loved ones safe.

9. Review Your Insurance Coverage

Ensure your home insurance policy covers flood damage. Standard policies often exclude floods, so consider purchasing additional flood insurance, especially if you're in a high-risk zone. Understanding what your insurance covers and how to file a claim promptly is crucial.

Our Restoration Professionals Are Here to Help with Flood Damage

The 2020 flood in Midland served as a wake-up call for many, highlighting the unpredictability of nature and the importance of being prepared. By implementing these simple yet effective precautions, homeowners in Midland can significantly reduce the risk of flood damage to their properties.

However, if you encounter water damage or need other restoration services, acting swiftly to mitigate the impact is vital. That's where ServiceMaster Restoration by FUSON comes in. With a trusted team of professionals equipped to handle residential water damage solutions, we are committed to restoring your property to its pre-damage condition efficiently and effectively.

Contact ServiceMaster by FUSON today and ensure your home is in capable hands and ready to face whatever the elements may bring.