Flooding is simply a devastating natural phenomenon that can
literally wash away human dreams, as well as lives and properties. With a
rather very unpredictable weather system spurred by global warming as well as
the changing landscape, flooding remains one of man’s worst nightmares.
Although managing flood damage can take on itself as a matter of
common sense, there is more scientific knowledge to it than mere guesswork. As
such, it is very important for every homeowner to become fully knowledgeable of
the nature of floods and become adept at managing it and its resultant damage.
Flooding accounts for 26% of home damages in a 30-year mortgage,
17% higher than the damages caused by fires. From 1996 to 2005 more than USD
2.4 billion worth of losses were recorded every year, with flashfloods as the
natural disaster that has claimed the most number of human lives in the same
time period. Furthermore, in the past 30 years, inland flooding has claimed
more than half the deaths that were associated with tropical cyclones in the
From 1960 to 2005, the top five US states that registered the
most damages and losses to both property and human life are Texas, California,
South Dakota, Virginia, and West Virginia.
The nature of the severity of flood damage is similar to that of
water damage. The extent of the resulting damage to properties and its
commensurate loss in value is directly proportional to the length of time the
property was exposed or was in contact with flood water. Although this
assumption may be true in most cases, flash floods offer an entirely different
explanation for the damage it brings.
In the case of flash floods, the amount of flood water surging against
a particular object at a given point in time is more a factor in property damages
as well as loss of life. Significantly great amounts of flood water usually
contain vast amounts of physical energy that can literally obliterate any
object in its path.
Whatever is the mechanism of the destruction, homeowners should
understand that flooding is a serious natural phenomenon that requires serious
The main idea about preventive measures is that they do not
necessarily guarantee freedom from the phenomenon being avoided. Rather,
prevention lowers the risk or the likelihood of the damage and loss to life and
property one may get from the phenomenon being prepared against.
It thus becomes clear that, when flooding does strike especially
flash floods, preventive measures can help you raise your chances of survival
and at the same time minimize the extent of damage to your property.
1. It is best to ask for
professional assistance in ascertaining the structural soundness of your home.
Structural engineers can be called in to determine the strength of the overall
house structure. Geodetic engineers can be asked for their opinion on the
stability of the land upon which the house is built upon. Technically, these
things should have been considered even before you had your house built.
Nonetheless, periodic assessment especially for issues such as cracks,
corrosion, and soil destabilization, should be performed.
2. Seek adequate home insurance
coverage especially if you live in flood-prone areas. The premium may be a
little bit higher than those in non-flood-prone areas but it is always a lot
better to be assured now than pay the price later.
3. Waterproof your home by
applying various waterproofing agents on your roof as well as walls and
floorings. Flooding will always entail great quantities of water such that
adequate protection should be applied to the many surfaces of the home.
4. Invest in a reliable and
powerful sump pump to be installed in your basement or strategically placed in
low-lying areas of the home. The enemy in flooding is the vast amounts of water
in s short period of time. The more efficient and powerful the sump pump, the
better are your chances at saving yourself from the angst of flood damage.
5. Make sure to have your
furnaces, water heaters, and electric panels raised to a considerable height
especially if you live in a flood-prone area. You do not want to add the
possibility of accidental electrocution to the flood damage.
6. Make sure that waterways,
pipes, and sewer traps are fitted with check valves in order to prevent
floodwater from backing up into the drains found inside your home.
7. Have a ready list of persons
or authorities you may need to call in case flooding does occur.
8. Invest in water-extraction
devices such as a secondary or backup sump pump or a portable subsurface
extractor. It may also be wise to have a dehumidifier to eliminate moisture in
the air, often after the flood water has been removed.
9. Learn your community’s flood
disaster management protocol such as evacuation centers and higher grounds as
well as disaster resources.
During the Catastrophe
Granted that you have effected a sound flood-prevention plan,
your actions during the flooding will help determine whether your property
stays intact or will it be washed by the rampaging flood waters.
1. If flooding is a common
occurrence in your area, always stay tuned to the radio or the television for
weather updates. Most of these updates will usually come in regular intervals,
increasing in frequency as the weather phenomenon nears a particular major
2. Although flash flooding is a
rare occurrence, never discount the possibility of it occurring. In the first
indication of a flashflood – usually rampaging waters consequent to rapidly
rising flood waters – you should immediately move your family to higher ground.
It is best to be extra vigilant and not to wait for your local community
leaders to command you to move.
3. Be particular about land
formations – natural or man-made – such as rivers, streams, drainage channels,
canyons which can flood in an instant. Better sear clear of these areas because
flash floods naturally occur in these areas. When they do occur, it is often
4. In case you need to
evacuate, it is necessary to bring with you only the essentials. If you have
items or personal belongings that are outside the home, bring them indoors and
move important and valuable belongings to a higher area or room in the house.
Once all of these things have been secured, secure your home before you leave.
5. Make sure to turn off the
main power supply and unplug all electrical appliances and devices.
6. In case you will not be
evacuating, make sure that the sump pump installed in the basement is working
optimally. You should be able to observe a steady stream of flood water drawn
from the inside of your home and dumped outside.
Flood damage remediation starts almost immediately after it is
relatively safe enough to return to the heavily flooded area. As a matter of
safety, it is best to make sure that the depth of the flood is not deeper than
two feet before you can move in and perform flood damage remediation.
1. Depending on the severity of
the flooding, you may need to call professional companies that offer flood
damage cleanup and restoration services.
2. It is very important to
remove all standing water inside your home at the fastest possible time. Only professional
companies have the technology to mount such a massive undertaking.
3. In case hiring professional
companies is out of the question, you can perform manual extraction and removal
of flood water through pails and other containers that can serve as water
collection items. Enlist the participation and cooperation of everyone in this
4. Now is the best time to use
your secondary or backup sump pump to assist the main sump pump in the removal
of flood waters.
5. In any water removal
activity, especially in deeply flooded areas, it is best to be extremely
vigilant against safety hazards such as protruding nails and other sharp
objects that might be the source of injuries. This is very likely to happen in
severely flooded areas where it is particularly difficult to visualize the
6. Segregate personal
belongings and items that you can clean and restore yourself and those other
items and objects that require a more professional approach.
7. Continue to thoroughly dry
flood affected areas of the house by turning on the dehumidifier. If at all
possible, you can also switch on electric fans and heaters to help facilitate
the removal of water and moisture from affected areas of the home.
8. Make sure to dry these areas
completely in order to prevent the growth of mold and mildew colonies. These
seemingly harmless microorganisms present an entirely different kind of health
problem especially to susceptible persons.
9. Continue using dehumidifiers
and other moisture eliminating devices to get rid of water vapors in the air.
attempt to drink water until it was declared by your local water utility that
it is safe to do so. Gastrointestinal diseases usually rise after major
The effectiveness of these flood damage control measures, from
prevention to remediation actually depends on how well you understand the
nature of floods. The main thing to understand in any disaster mitigation is to
be quick and decisive in your actions.