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Preparing the Unprepared for the Unexpected

Aug 25, 2016

By: Chelsea Haley, DKI Ventures, LLC

In Louisiana, 39 straight hours of heavy rain resulted in a state of emergency warning with eight rivers reaching record levels, thousands of homes and businesses severely flooded and around 13 citizens found dead.

While several cities, and those close to the Amite River knew to watch out once the flood warnings were in effect, some of this destruction also impacted those outside the designated high risk flood zones. The weather forecasters continued flood warnings for these areas, but being inexperienced, most in these higher ground locations were unprepared, and didn’t expect the severity of the flooding that occurred.

Unfortunately, this is all too common.

Take a look at the results of those surveyed in New Jersey after Hurricane Sandy hit: (Survey by Robert Meyer, a professor at The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania)

  • 16 percent of people who thought they were in mandatory evacuation areas evacuated. That means, 84 percent remained in the area, even being aware of evacuation!
  • 38 percent of people living within one block of the ocean or bay thought the main threat from Sandy was water (the rest thought it was wind).
  • 54 percent of those living near the water had flood insurance. So, nearly half of those in high-risk flood zones did not even have flood insurance! (Just to note, this is not covered by a regular homeowner’s insurance policy.)

Remember, flooding is the most common natural disaster in the United States and everyone lives in a flood zone. Your biggest takeaway from what you just read should be to always prepare for the unexpected.

You will continue to read posts and blogs about disaster preparation techniques. Don’t ignore these. In fact, challenge yourself to get educated on your potential risks:

  • What risks are associated with the area(s) you live and work?
  • What are the signs of potential flooding?
  • Though everyone lives in a flood zone, what is your level of flood hazard? Be aware this may change as FEMA re-maps flood zones to reflect the changing landscapes due to weather patterns, development and other natural forces. Try to stay up-to-date with the latest developments with flood zone mapping. Your town or city hall should have access to flood zone maps, or you can visit the FEMA Map Service Center (MSC). To help understand the flood map and your level of risk, visit gov.
  • Do you need flood insurance? Note that 20 percent of flood insurance claims are from those in low-to-moderate flood risk zones. Even though it may not be federally required, anyone can be financially susceptible to flooding.
  • What is your community’s plan of action should a flood or other natural disaster occur?

Remember, just because you haven’t experienced something before, doesn’t mean you should ignore the warnings. Know how to respond and always be prepared! Communities well-prepared for flooding can save up to 80 percent of potential flood damages (Gissing, 2003: Bureau of Transport Economics, 2002: Wright and Smith, 1999).

If you or someone you know has experienced flood damage, call our emergency services line: 866.277.2977. DKI has teams of professionals, available 24/7/365, experienced in water and flood mitigation, fire and smoke restoration, mold remediation and more.