Preparing for flooding: tips from IEMA

River levels expected to further rise

information provided by the Illinois Emergency Management Agency

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (May 1, 2019) – The National Weather Service is forecasting another round of showers and thunderstorms that could lead to urban and flash flooding, as well as further aggravate already swollen rivers, creeks throughout the state. The Illinois Emergency Management Agency offers these flood preparedness tips:

  • STAY INFORMED: Stay informed about what is happening with a storm as it approaches, and follow the instructions of local emergency management officials. NOAA Weather Alert Radios provide critical information in a timely manner on storms, hazards and emergencies.
  • TAKE PHOTOS: If you have contents coverage on your flood insurance policy, take photos of clothing, flooring, light fixtures, appliances, furniture—anything that could be damaged by the flood. Having this can help if you file a flood insurance claim later. If you’re not sure what your flood insurance policy covers, call your insurance agent.
  • REDUCE FLOODING RISKS:
    • Make sure your sump pump is working. Then install a battery-operated backup in case of power failure.
    • Install a water alarm, which will let you know if water is accumulating in your basement.
    • Clear debris from gutters and downspouts.
    • Raise and anchor service equipment and appliances (air conditioning units, water heaters, heat pumps, water meters) onto platforms so they are at least one foot above potential flood waters.
  • PROTECT VALUABLE DOCUMENTS: Store copies of irreplaceable documents (such as birth certificates, passports, insurance documents, deeds, etc.) in a safe, dry place. It can also be a good idea to photograph these documents and store the images in a safe place, too.
  • PREPARE YOUR FAMILY: Develop a family emergency plan and review it with all family members. Visit Ready.Illinois.gov for step by step instructions on how to prepare for, survive, and rebuild after any storm or emergency.
  • BE READY TO EVACUATE: Plan and practice a flood evacuation route. Ask someone out of state to be your “family contact” in an emergency, and make sure everyone knows the contact’s address and phone number.
  • PLAN FOR PETS AND ANIMALS: Make a pet and animal plan. Many shelters do not allow pets. Make plans now on what to do with your pets if you are required to evacuate your residence.
  • CHECK YOUR INSURANCE COVERAGE: A flood insurance policy could protect you from the devastating expenses caused by flooding. Standard homeowners’ insurance does not cover flood damage. A flood policy takes 30 days to go into effect from application to payment, so taking action before a storm is recommended. The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) protects policyholders financially even if they live in an area that did not qualify for federal disaster assistance. In fact, statistics show that insured survivors are able to recover quicker and more fully from a flood or other catastrophic event than their uninsured neighbors.

Another important safety tips during a flood is, “Turn Around, Don’t Drown,” which is intended to remind people to never drive on a flooded road. Most flood-related fatalities involve people in vehicles attempting to drive through a road covered with water. The speed and depth of the water is not always obvious, and as little as two feet of rushing water can sweep away most vehicles, including trucks and SUVs.

For more information about flood preparedness, visit the Ready Illinois website at www.Ready.Illinois.gov.

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