Let’s say you’re a Coastal Risk customer and, like hundreds of others, you’ve purchased a FIRST Score® online (www.FloodScores.com). Let’s say that your flood score was high for tidal/sea level rise, storm surge or heavy rainfall flooding.
What Should You Do? What Can You Do?
There are a number of cost-effective measures that can be taken to make your property safer from flooding. If you have a high flood score and you do nothing, you’re at higher risk for flood damages to carpeting, furniture, walls, appliances, lighting, electronics and keepsakes. Mold may soon follow. You could find yourself ripping out drywall to reach soaked insulation, tearing up flooring and replacing electrical systems.
The current base flood elevation of your home and yard is important in determining flood risks, but you also need to know how future climate changes like sea level rise, storm surges and heavy rainfall will affect your property. FEMA floodplain maps alone won’t tell you that. Coastal Risk’s First Score® will help you make better adaptation decisions for you and your family’s future.
Be sure to use licensed and insured contractors to make any modifications to your home. Check with your local building department about permit requirements.
1. Elevate electrical and climate systems
Consider raising switches, sockets, circuit breakers and wiring above the FIRST Score® flood level in your area. Modify your furnace, water heater and any other anchored indoor equipment so that it sits above your property's flood level and, if possible, not in your basement.
2. Elevate and anchor outdoor HVAC equipment
Fuel tanks, air-conditioning units and generators should be raised above your FIRST Score® flood level and anchored. Unanchored fuel tanks can break free, and severed supply lines can contaminate surrounding grounds.
3. Modify water and sewer valves
Storms and rising tides can cause your community’s sewer system to flood with sewage, groundwater and seawater. A flooded sewer system can cause sewage to back up into your home. Consider installing interior and/or exterior backflow valves. A licensed plumber can install backflow preventers.
4. Evaluate landscaping for how water flows around your home
A qualified landscaper or landscape architect can help you evaluate the grading or slope of your property. The angle of the ground can direct water to or from your house. It's best if water drains away from your home’s foundation. The Coastal Risk FIRST Score® can help guide you and your professionals to prevent low spots that will collect flood waters over time.
If your street or neighborhood is prone to standing water with seasonal high tides or even after an ordinary rainstorm, contact Coastal Risk for a custom, neighborhood FIRST Score® or a Coastal Risk Rapid Assessment™. If the neighborhood FIRST Score® is high, then, you may want to speak with your county planning or floodplain managers to discuss installation of flood prevention measures in your area.
5. Consider Flood Control Products
There are a wide variety of flood control products available on the market today. These include removable flood doors or barriers that can be placed across breezeways, doors, garages, etc. Make sure that you thoroughly research any company that you deal with and that they provide warranties on installation, etc. Storm shutters and impact glass have been available for many years and should be considered standard for all properties in the hurricane storm surge zones.
6. Opt for a major retrofit
If your home has a high FIRST Score®, or if it has already experienced storm or tidal floods (and moving isn't desired or feasible), then, you may need to consider raising your home. Coastal Risk’s FIRST Score® can help you understand how high to raise your home on piers or columns and how that will lower your flood score.
You may also need to consider installing foundation flood vents to allow water to flow under your home. This can help prevent water from entering inside or cracking your home’s foundation as tides push groundwater upward. Another option is to use exterior coatings. Applying water-repellent coatings and other sealing materials to your exterior walls and foundation will help to keep out floods, groundwater and tidewater.
7. Last-minute measures as waters rise
Last minute measures to protect your home from the impacts of flooding include shutting off electricity at the breaker panel and moving furniture, rugs, electronics and valuables to upper floors, or raising them off the ground floor. You should also elevate major appliances onto concrete blocks and clear any drains, downspouts and gutters. Consider the locations of any household chemicals, paints, fertilizers, herbicides and oils. Move them to higher ground and/or contain them to prevent seepage and contamination.