Flood Safety For Your Home

by admin on March 13, 2012

National Flood Awareness Week March 12- 16, 2012

National Flood Safety Awareness Week (March 12 – 16, 2012) is intended to highlight some of the many ways floods can occur, the hazards associated with floods, and what you can do to save life and property. According to the National Weather Service (NOAA) flooding causes more damage in the United States than any other severe weather related event, an average of $5 billion a year. Flooding can occur in any of the 50 states or U.S. territories at anytime of the year. Our safety can never be guaranteed.

Once a river reaches flood stage, the flood severity categories used by the NWS include minor flooding, moderate flooding, and major flooding. Each category has a definition based on property damage and public threat.

  • Minor Flooding – minimal or no property damage, but possibly some public threat or inconvenience
  • Moderate Flooding – some inundation of structures and roads near streams. Some evacuations of people and/or transfer of property to higher elevations are necessary.
  • Major Flooding – extensive inundation of structures and roads. Significant evacuations of people and/or transfer of property to higher elevations.

The impacts of a floods vary locally. For each NWS river forecast location, flood stage and the stage associated with each of the NWS flood severity categories are established in cooperation with local public officials. Increasing river levels above flood stage constitute minor, moderate, and major flooding. Impacts vary from one river location to another because a certain river stage (height) in one location may have an entirely different impact than the same level above flood stage at another location.

How you can be prepared:

  • Keep drains, gutters and downspouts clear of debris.
  • Prepare an evacuation plan with a kit that includes insurance documents, medications and critical items in case you need to leave your home for a few days.
  • Inspect sump pumps and drains regularly to ensure proper operation.
  • Have a licensed electrician raise electric components at least 12 inches above the expected flood levels for your area.
  • To prevent sewage backup, have a licensed plumber install an interior or exterior backflow valve. Make sure your yard’s grading (slope) directs water away from the building.
  • Have the installation of your furnace, water heater and other permanent equipment modified so that they are elevated above the expected flood levels for your area.

Create an emergency kit:

Make sure you have an emergency kit prepared. Make sure the kit has a first aid kit, water, a flashlight and extra batteries. In terms of food, include some non-perishable items along with a can opener. It’s always helpful to include a NOAA weather radio. For more information, visit the FEMA.gov flooding website.

 

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When Spring cleaning, make your home fire safe

The change of seasons and warmer weather provides the excellent motivation to prepare your home to be fire safe. A good spring cleaning often means hard work on the part of the homeowner; lifting, climbing, scrubbing, scraping, and using strong cleaning solutions. We must also turn our attention to fire safety in the home.

The Home Safety Council urges families to keep the following safe practices in mind while cleaning to keep your home fire safe:

• When cleaning out closets or re-organizing, keep stairs, steps, and landings clear for a safe evacuation path.
• Reduce clutter and safely tuck telephone and electrical cords away from walkways.
• Follow safety recommendations when using harsh products, such as wearing gloves and masks. Do not mix products together because the contents could result in a flammable environment.
• Never use gasoline as a cleaning solvent, and never use or store gasoline in your home, even in tiny quantities. Because its vapors can readily ignite, it is too dangerous to use gasoline for any purpose other than as a motor fuel.
• Check to be sure flammable and combustible liquids are stored outside in a locking shed or garage. Gasoline must never be stored or used in your home, even in small quantities.
• Store matches, lighters, and candles in a locked cabinet, out of children’s reach.
• Replace your smoke alarm batteries and ensure that they are working properly. Also please remember that if your smoke alarms are older than 10 years old they should be replaced.
• Ensure your carbon monoxide detector is working properly.
• If you have a fire extinguisher, learn how to use it and install it properly; children should should not be permitted to handle a fire extinguisher.
• Use safety covers in electrical outlets and anti-scald devices in faucets in home with young children.
• Test the temperature of your hot water. If it is more than 120 degrees Fahrenheit, a child’s skin can burn in seconds. Test your hot water and adjust the temperature to no higher than 120 degrees Fahrenheit.

Here is a printable Spring Cleaning Checklist from Martha Stewart.

 

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