Floods are the most common natural disaster, damaging public health and safety, as well as economic prosperity. Between 1980 and 2013, the United States suffered more than $260 billion in flood-related damages, according to FEMA. Storm surge, and heavy downpours, extensive development and even sea level rise in coastal areas can increase the risk of flooding.
Proactive preparation helps minimize risk for personal safety and property damage during a hurricane or during rising waters due to heavy downpours and sheet flow. Here are some strategies and tips to help with preparation for storms.
<Bookmark>Know Your Flood Hazard
<Bookmark>Insure Your Property for Your Flood Hazard
- Most property/casualty insurance does not cover flood damage.
- The NFIP reports that nearly 20 percent of flood insurance claims are for property in moderate to low-risk areas. Even if your property is in an X Zone, take advantage of the low-risk, preferred rate policy. An existing policy offers rate advantages if the property is mapped into a higher-risk category in the future.
- Floods are the most common natural disaster in the United States.
- Learn about National Flood Insurance Program policies.
- Read about the mandatory purchase of flood insurance.
- Ask for a FIRM letter that will provide your insurance agent with the necessary details about your property by contacting FIRMinfo@leegov.com or 239-533-8585.
- If you don’t have a mortgage and are not required to have flood insurance, consider getting an NFIP policy anyway. In addition to the insurance coverage, it may also be an advantage if you sell the property to a buyer who finances with a mortgage. The policy will transfer to the new owner, possibly offering some grandfathering discounts for pricing.
- You don’t have to own your home or business to get an NFIP policy. The NFIP offers insurance for renters’ possessions.
- Go to Floodsmart.gov for more specific information about Flood Insurance.
<Bookmark>Protect People from Flood Hazard
- Stay out of flood waters. They can contain dangerous chemicals from gasoline, oil, industrial and household compounds, and sewage.
- If you see standing water in a road – turn around; don’t drown! Don’t drive or walk through rising water.
- Affirm "Youth Preparedness" for children in your family or schools. A 2010 study from Oregon State University showed that 14 percent of children and teens experienced a disaster during their lifetime, and four percent had been in a disaster within the past year. Contact the FEMA Youth Technical Assistance Center.
- Get hard copies or electronic versions of the All Hazards Guide. The information provided offers guidance for storm preparation, home and property safety, shelter information, the evacuation process and emergency contact numbers.
<Bookmark>Protect Your Property from Hazard
<Bookmark>Protect Natural Floodplain Functions
- Don’t build over, dam up or fill natural flow ways, ditches or other surface water conveyances.
- Don’t dump in storm drains.
- Report broken silt fences – the temporary barriers set up around construction areas.
- Report debris or vegetation blocking swales, ditches, canals or other surface water conveyances by calling the Request for Action Hotline at 239-533-9400 or filling out the Request for Action Form online.
Flood Mapping Quick Links