Minimize Losses, Prepare Before a Flood

As the 2013 spring flood season continues, being prepared is important to mitigate during and recover after a flood. Consider the following to minimize losses in your home.

Safeguard your possessions: Create a personal flood file containing information and an inventory about household items and keep them in a secure place. The file should have a copy of your insurance policies, agent contact information and other critical documents.

A household inventory is important when filing insurance claims. Keep written, video, and photograph records of major items and valuables. Include serial numbers and receipts. Have jewelry and artwork appraised. Visit and look for the Know Your Stuff App for iPhone and Android for free, secure online storage for your inventory.

Recommendations to prepare your house:

  • Make sure your sump pump is working; install a battery-operated backup.
  • Install a water alarm to let you know if water is accumulating in your basement.
  • Clear debris from gutters and downspouts.
  • Anchor fuel tanks.
  • Raise your electrical components (switches, sockets, circuit breakers, and wiring) at least 12 inches above your home's projected flood elevation.
  • Place the furnace, water heater, washer, and dryer on cement blocks at least 12 inches above the projected flood elevation.
  • Move furniture, valuables, and important documents to a safe place.

Develop a family emergency plan:

  • Create a safety kit with drinking water, canned food, first aid, blankets, a radio, and a flashlight; post emergency phone numbers by the phone and teach your children how to dial 911;
  • plan and practice a flood evacuation route with your family; know safe routes from home, work, and school that are on higher ground;
  • ask an out-of-state relative or friend to be your emergency family contact; and
  • have a plan to protect your pets.

For more information on emergency preparation, visit