Mitigating Flood Impacts
If you live in a flood-prone area, there are a number of things you can do to minimize or eliminate property damage before a flood event occurs.
- Grading your property
- Elevating and securing electrical appliances
- Placing all low-lying electrical fixtures on separate electrical circuits
- Using flood-resistant materials on exterior surfaces
Buildings can also be permanently retrofitted for better flood protection!
Retrofitting For Flooding
Retrofitting means making changes to an existing building to protect it from flooding or high winds. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) publication 312, Homeowner's Guide to Retrofitting: Six Ways to Protect Your House from Flooding provides information that will help you decide whether your house is a candidate for retrofitting.
Six Ways to Protect Your House From Flooding
- Elevating: raising your house so that the lowest floor is above the flood level. This is the most common way to avoid flood damage.
- Wet floodproofing: making uninhabited parts of your house resistant to flood damage when water is allowed to enter during flooding. (Example - vents in a carport)
- Relocation: moving your house to higher ground where the exposure to flooding is reduced or eliminated altogether.
- Dry floodproofing: sealing your house to prevent floodwaters from entering.
- Levee and floodwall protection: constructing barriers to prevent floodwaters from entering your house.
- Demolition: razing your house and rebuilding properly on the same property or buying a house elsewhere.
Retrofitting For Other Hazards
Another hazard you should be aware of is high winds (including Hurricanes).
For houses in areas subject to high winds, some retrofitting methods are more appropriate than others. But regardless of the method you choose, if your house is in a high-wind area, your contractor or design professional must ensure that all structural changes made can withstand not only the expected flood forces but the expected forces of winds as well.
Wind is similar to flowing water in that it pushes against the side of the house that faces the wind and pulls on the side that faces away. Wind passing over a house can exert a lifting (vertical) instead of flowing (horizontal) force on the house.