The Washington County Sheriff's Office offers articles on safety, current events, traffic violations, public safety and more. Look for timely information and tips on this & what's happening at the Sheriff's Office.
Receive up-to-the-minute news about our Office: Sign up for our e-bulletins.
|Print This Page||Archived Articles|
Protect Family and Property Against Flooding
Residents of flood hazard areas can take several steps to safeguard their families and property when flooding occurs. These actions are also advised for other residents traveling in the County during times of flooding.
Steps to Take During Flood Conditions
Steps to Take Before Flood Conditions Occur
1. Purchase flood insurance
Standard homeowners’ insurance policies do not cover a property for flood damage. If your property is located in a flood hazard area, you should purchase a separate insurance policy for flood damage. You may want to include your personal property in the insurance policy. The average flood insurance premium in 2004 was $458 a year. A maximum of $250,000 of building coverage is available for single-family residential buildings and $250,000 per unit for multi-family residences. The limit for content coverage on all residential buildings is $100,000, which is also available to renters. Commercial structures can be insured to a limit of $500,000 for the buildings and $500,000 for the contents.
2. Protect your property
Take steps in and around your home to safeguard against flooding. Elevate electrical panel boxes, furnaces, water heaters, and washer/dryers (or relocate to a location less likely to be flooded). Install sewer backup valves. Move furniture, TV, and other valuables to the upper floors of your home.
One way to keep water away is to regrade your lot, build a small floodwall or earthen berm, or sandbag. Another practical step is to raise the house above the flood levels. You may find more suggested ways to safeguard your property against floods at local libraries, or visit the Federal Emergency Management Agency website.
3. Be aware of requirements for substantial improvements
A substantial improvement is construction of an addition, alteration, repair of damage, or reconstruction project that is valued at 50% or more of the existing building. When building an addition in a flood hazard area, only the addition must be protected (adequately and safely flood proofed, elevated, etc.) if the cumulative construction costs are less than 50% of the existing building value. If the cumulative construction costs exceed the existing building value, then the entire building must be protected.
4. Be sure drainage systems are working
Maintenance of drainage systems is critical. Dumping of debris in ditches and streams can partially or completely obstruct the free flow of water. This can cause water to back up and overflow onto roads and yards.
PDF - Flood Safety Checklist
While stopping a leak or repairing a hose down in the basement might be fairly straightforward, ice dams and attic condensation, two forms of water damage typical to cold climate homes, are a little more complicated and a little trickier to fix. And since many homeowners aren't frequent visitors to their own attics in the frigid winter months, water damage on the top floor might catch you off guard.
What are ice dams? What causes attic condensation? And if you’ve got either, what can you do?
When the temperature in your attic is above freezing, snow on the roof will likely melt. When the snowmelt runs down the roof and hits the colder eaves, it refreezes, especially if the temperature drops again.
If this cycle repeats over several days, the freezing snowmelt builds up and forms a dam of ice, behind which water pools up into large puddles, or "ponds". The ponding water can then back up under the roof covering and leak into the attic or along exterior walls.
The right weather conditions for ice dams are usually when outside air temperatures are in the low 20s (°F) for several days with several inches of snow on the roof.
Condensation of water vapor on cold surfaces in attics can cause wood to rot, which can lead to costly repairs. Condensation typically occurs when warm, moist air migrates into the attic from living spaces below. Research indicates unusually high humidity in the home's living spaces is strongly associated with attic condensation problems.
Building codes have some requirements that attempt to prevent the problems of ice dams and attic condensation. But codes don’t address all the issues, and many houses are built without following building codes. First and foremost, it’s your builder or designer's job to understand the relationship of humidity and air movement when designing and constructing the house so these problems don't occur.
Nevertheless, there's more you can do. Here are a few simple steps that can help prevent ice dams and condensation in your attic:
What Not To Do
While it might be tempting to try a quick-fix to break up that ice dam, don’t get too eager; not only is it dangerous on your roof, but you can also cause a lot of damage, especially in the colder months. Here are some things to keep in mind:
For more information check out this website: http://www.preventicedams.org/
Winter is a beautiful time of the year, especially when a fresh layer of new snow covers everything.
Winter can also be a very dangerous time of the year. If you plan on traveling during the winter, it pays to be prepared for the unexpected. Getting stranded during a winter storm can be a matter of life and death.
Simply following a few simple driving habits like planning ahead, driving at a safe and legal speed, driving alert and sober and buckling up could insure that you make it to your destination safely.
Can't find the article you were looking for? Check out the Archive Link below for more articles