Flood Preps?

Topics in this category pertain to planning. Discussions include how to prepare yourself, your family and your community for catastrophes and what you plan to do when they hit you.

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Flood Preps?

Post by gart43 » Fri Jun 13, 2008 7:00 pm

Well do to recent flooding in the Midwest (right in my home state actually) that affected several members of my family (guess who they get to stay with :D) I wanted to ask my fellow ZSers what they plan to do as far as having Flood Preps?

I mean do you store sand bags and such for protection? Own a pump to try and pump water away? Own flood insurance?
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Re: Flood Preps?

Post by BEar667 » Fri Jun 13, 2008 9:02 pm

I'm guessing it's time to stock up on sandbags. I am not in any danger now, so I don't think I should go and get the free ones that the State of Iowa is giving out, other's are going to need them more than I do.
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Re: Flood Preps?

Post by gart43 » Fri Jun 13, 2008 9:08 pm

Do you live really close to a flood plain? Or in one? I really feel for all you guys down in Iowa, anyone remember the flooding back in '92?

Is it looking anything like that?
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Re: Flood Preps?

Post by raptor » Fri Jun 13, 2008 10:32 pm

Ok flooding is something I have experienced a lot. The GNO some times floods due to very heavy rains and over the years I have tried a lot of things on various properties.

Their first line of defense is the building. If you live in a flood plain a slab home is not appropriate. Houses in flood plains should be elevated off the ground, even a foot is that much more freeboard you will have.

The second line of defense is flood insurance. HOMEOWNERS INSURANCE DOES NOT COVER FLOOD DAMAGE. Even if you live above the 500 year flood plain flood insurance makes sense since in that case it is only a couple of hundred dollars per year. Regardless, it is cheap compared with the damage a flood will cause. It is available from the feds up to a maximum of only $250,000 for the home and $100,000 for contents. However, you can often buy private excess flood insurance if you need more coverage. This is more expensive than the federal program but again it is cheaper than flood losses.

Other items to consider

Sandbags:
Sandbags are not a cure all, You need a sand bag base 3 times wider than the height you seek to attain if you go over 3 sand bags high (about 2 feet). There are many articles describing how to sand bag. The key thing to remember is that sand bag levees are porous and will leak it is not unusual to have to have pumps behind the sand bags to keep the water down. Sandbagging just a door will also not keep all the water out. The walls of most buildings are porous. Also water will flood a structure from the sewer lines if it gets high enough. You have to shut off the toilets and sinks. Sandbags are a last ditch tool and often not worth the trouble.

Protecting your stuff:

There are 2 kinds of floods a raging river flood with a strong current and a simple rising water flood. Te raging river flood is dangerous and you should grab your family and pets and bug out at the first sign of trouble, don’t hang around for this.

These next items are for the slowly rising water type flood.

This may seem obvious but pick up everything off the floor. It is not uncommon for people to be in denial and say the water won't get into the house and then even as water is flowing in to just stand there and watch. Act fast and act early and you may be able to save a lot of your things from water damage. Standing there and watching the water will give you a feeling of helplessness at least moving things to high ground can be productive.If you have a second floor carry the stuff upstairs, otherwise pile valuables on top of furniture. Furniture and refrigerators will float. It is amazing what floats. It is also amazing how even a 1/4 of an inch of water can cause huge amounts of damage.

Get garbage bags and put your clothes in the garbage bags and double bag them. Do the same for any papers, photos or documents you value. If you do not have a second story put this stuff in the attic. Hopefully the water will not rise that high, if it does...well you tried.

Turn off the power to the house as soon as it is evident water will get into the house. Once you have moved your valuables upstairs or into the attic get out. There is nothing more you can do until the water goes down. You will need your strength and watching while your stuff gets wet and ruined will only leave you discouraged and weary.

After the water goes down remove all the carpet, sheet rock, insulation, furniture, appliances anything that got wet. Throw it away, do it quickly and allow the house to dry. It will take a long time. Easily a month or more unless you get the HVAC working.

Take a lot of pictures document everything thrown away. Filing a flood insurance claim is horrible and time consuming. You have to document everything damaged with proof of loss and a value. Pictures are invaluable.

Good luck to you guys!
Last edited by raptor on Sat Jun 14, 2008 1:32 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Flood Preps?

Post by brandys0524 » Fri Jun 13, 2008 10:37 pm

You know, I was just talking to hubby about this the other day.

I do not live in a flood plain...but it has flooded here before. I would guess I live about 5 miles south of the Ohio river..... and thats a big river. If it were to flood, we would be screwed.

I am going to get some flood insurance. And see if I can't find some sort of raft or small boat at a yardsell this summer for cheap. $20 bucks for a raft that might save me will be well worth it. Flood insurance is federal mandated and set in price... I think its like 50 bucks a month??? Thats $600 bucks a yr. That one is gonna require some thought. Thats a lot of extra money a yr, but at the same time, if we got flooded we would lose everything.... then that $600 bucks a yr might not seem like so much.

What do ya'll think?

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Re: Flood Preps?

Post by gart43 » Fri Jun 13, 2008 11:57 pm

Raptor, once again you provide me with a LOT of information :D. Great post man.
brandys0524 wrote:You know, I was just talking to hubby about this the other day.

I do not live in a flood plain...but it has flooded here before. I would guess I live about 5 miles south of the Ohio river..... and thats a big river. If it were to flood, we would be screwed.

I am going to get some flood insurance. And see if I can't find some sort of raft or small boat at a yardsell this summer for cheap. $20 bucks for a raft that might save me will be well worth it. Flood insurance is federal mandated and set in price... I think its like 50 bucks a month??? Thats $600 bucks a yr. That one is gonna require some thought. Thats a lot of extra money a yr, but at the same time, if we got flooded we would lose everything.... then that $600 bucks a yr might not seem like so much.

What do ya'll think?
Personally I think you should do it, I mean like get it NOW.

I would rather be paying $600 dollars per year than having to pay a hell of a lot more than that to build a new house or repair a previously flooded one.
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Re: Flood Preps?

Post by raptor » Sat Jun 14, 2008 12:25 am

brandys0524 wrote:You know, I was just talking to hubby about this the other day.

I do not live in a flood plain...but it has flooded here before. I would guess I live about 5 miles south of the Ohio river..... and thats a big river. If it were to flood, we would be screwed.

I am going to get some flood insurance. And see if I can't find some sort of raft or small boat at a yardsell this summer for cheap. $20 bucks for a raft that might save me will be well worth it. Flood insurance is federal mandated and set in price... I think its like 50 bucks a month??? Thats $600 bucks a yr. That one is gonna require some thought. Thats a lot of extra money a yr, but at the same time, if we got flooded we would lose everything.... then that $600 bucks a yr might not seem like so much.

What do ya'll think?
Flood insurance is based upon your elevation and flood zone. My basic flood insurance in New Orleans is $375 for $250,000+ $100,000 (note I have never flooded). Price it, you may find it cheaper than you think. If you have flooded once it will flood again at some point in time.

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Re: Flood Preps?

Post by herbalpagan » Sat Jun 14, 2008 7:39 am

I do not live near a flood plain, (we are on top of aa mountain) a conscious choice on our part. However, we could have picked a place the was on a 500 yr plain, as we would have thought that was safe enough! I was shocked to see so much damage in a 500 yr area. One thing I would do in any other place than here, is purchase flood insurance. Even if it's a flooded basement, it's worth it, and not as expensive as you think.
Good luck to all of you who are in a flooded area!
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Re: Flood Preps?

Post by southalabama » Sat Jun 14, 2008 1:33 pm

Having experienced flooding several times a few additional thoughts to add to Raptor's excellent post.

With plenty of time of prep you can also take doors off their hinges.........they often swell and cause problems. I've taken interior doors off but never exterior doors. A few business owners in the direct path of raging flood waters took the exterior doors off hoping the water would flow through the building and keep the structure intact. It seems to have worked.

If your 100 percent sure its going to get your house, take out the carpet before it gets wet. We rented an office a few years back that flooded. The carpet got soaked. We had to roll the carpet inline with the door and hook a chain to it and pull it out with the Jeep.

Hummidity will be greatly increased. At another office we were high and dry and flood waters went under the building but the increase in humidity could have caused problems. I brought in a large dehumidifier. It literally removed gallons of water from the air each day.

Remember, you are on your own. There will not be enough drying equipment, vaccuming equipment, etc. Other things to watch out for..................snakes.

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Re: Flood Preps?

Post by GoSlash27 » Sat Jun 14, 2008 2:50 pm

If you don't live near a 500 year floodplain I wouldn't be overly concerned.
Having said that, I can tell you what is useful and what's not if you're near a population center.

Not useful:
Sandbags. They will be made available.

Useful:
Clothing:
Hip waders
rain poncho
leather work gloves

tools:
treadle pump
coal shovel

Items:
Rubber football (for stopping toilets)
Plunger (for stopping floor drain)
Tarps (waterproofing)
trailer or truck to haul sandbags
wind-up weather radio/ flashlight

The important thing to keep in mind is that flooding is just part of what you have to plan for.
In addition all basic services are threatened. You're liable to lose communication, power, water, gas, medical help... even the ability to get across town. This stuff is a problem even if you're completely clear of the flooding. So if you're prepared for that stuff the above is all you need to prepare for a flood.
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Re: Flood Preps?

Post by Lynxian » Sat Jun 14, 2008 2:53 pm

Living in The Netherlands means that there are some American ground rules - as put down by Raptor - that do not apply to this country.

Firstly, no house is built on poles. (Even though it wouldn't be a bad idea, really.) The reason for this, asides costs, is the fact that our ground keeps dropping a few inches every year (we're slowly sinking). Another reason is that our houses are to heavy. Older houses are combination of wood and bricks, but most houses are made out of reinforced concrete and bricks. (Save, perhaps, a wooden attic.) Building concrete houses on (concrete) poles on an unstable ground doesn't make anyone happy. One note (in case another Dutchie over here points it out); we do actually put poles beneath our houses, but those go into the ground to ensure they don't drop away. My point's more the fact that making them go up in the air as well would make it more unstable. Another factor is of course elevation, or the lack thereof. Half of the country is in between 1 to 5 meters below sealevel. Imagine the staircase you'd have to build with an average house being 3 meters below sealevel. Sure, it's good excercise, but would you buy it? :P

Secondly, believe it or not, we do not have a flood insurance. Yes, I know; you'll be gasping in amazement now, since we're famous for fighting water. Well, the bottom line is; you can insure yourself against excessive rainfall, but not against any other kind of water damage. The reason being that the insurance companies simply wouldn't be able to cough up the needed amounts of money if even one muncipality would flood due to dike / levee failure. The costs are too high, so no insurance there. If a dike or levee fails and you're in its path, you're fucked. You can try to use the government emergency fund, but that's a tough road and even compensation through that is only partial. (Better than nothing, of course, but it won't compensate everything you've lost.)

Thirdly; sandbagging your house won't work. Well, it might, depending on the type of house, but your average Dutch house will still flood. This is due to the fact that, because it's a small country, we pack buildings together. The vast majority of Dutch houses are built together as blocks. This type of construction is called 'rijtjeshuizen' or 'twee-onder-één-kap'. (Rough translation; 'row-houses' and 'two-houses-under-one-roof'.) There's a small difference between the two types. Rijtjeshuizen tend to be in between five to thirty houses built as one block. If you want to sandbag your house anywhere in this block, then you need to sandbag the entire block. If you do not do this, then the water will come in through your neighbours. Conclusion being that you would need an insane amount of sand and sandbags to achieve this, would need powerful generators to keep the encircled block dry and all of this effort would probably be better spent on simply sandbagging the area from which the water's coming. (Usually a dike, levee or whatever.) You might be able to defend a twee-onder-één-kap house pretty well if you and your neighbour work together, since sandbagging two houses would require less effort than sandbagging an entire block. Ideally, you can make a brick wall (about 3 or 4 feet high) around the entire ground you own and simply place small wooden plates (thus creating your own mini dike/levee system) in the openings of the wall.

Having said all of that, this post must sound pretty discouraging. Well, partially it is, but mostly if you're Dutch, really.. :P Personally, if I knew a flood was coming then I'd do exactly what raptor said, minus the sandbags and simply brace myself for impact. I might stay at home, I might not. That all depends on how everything's being arranged by the government. In the event of a surprise flood then you can count of me grabbing my BOB (by the time it's completed, of course :P) and then hopping onto my rubbet boat (of course, any floods will wait until I have the financial resources to buy said rubber boat) and bug-out.

Having written this much text; what are the plans of the other Dutchies on ZS in the event of a flood?
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Re: Flood Preps?

Post by BEar667 » Sat Jun 14, 2008 3:45 pm

gart43 wrote:Do you live really close to a flood plain? Or in one? I really feel for all you guys down in Iowa, anyone remember the flooding back in '92?

Is it looking anything like that?
I am no where near enough to be affected by the flooding in Des Moines. It is pretty bad, but as far as the floods of '93? I don't know I was not here then.
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Re: Flood Preps?

Post by raptor » Sat Jun 14, 2008 3:55 pm

Lynxian wrote: Firstly, no house is built on poles. (Even though it wouldn't be a bad idea, really.) The reason for this, asides costs, is the fact that our ground keeps dropping a few inches every year (we're slowly sinking). Another reason is that our houses are to heavy. Older houses are combination of wood and bricks, but most houses are made out of reinforced concrete and bricks. (Save, perhaps, a wooden attic.) Building concrete houses on (concrete) poles on an unstable ground doesn't make anyone happy. One note (in case another Dutchie over here points it out); we do actually put poles beneath our houses, but those go into the ground to ensure they don't drop away. My point's more the fact that making them go up in the air as well would make it more unstable. Another factor is of course elevation, or the lack thereof. Half of the country is in between 1 to 5 meters below sealevel. Imagine the staircase you'd have to build with an average house being 3 meters below sealevel. Sure, it's good excercise, but would you buy it? :P
When you say poles I think you are thinking about a fishing camp. In the New Orleans we have the same soil issues as the Dutch face. what we do is drive pilings down 30 or 40 feet to a hard clay layer and this stabilizes the foundation of homes. Ironically the concrete slab homes are more prone to sinking issues than elevated homes. This is a link to a renovated slab home in New Orleans that was raised above the Katrina water level before renovation. The elevation method is simply cinder blocks with steel reinforcing rods and concrete poured inside the cinder blocks.

http://www.cyburbia.org/gallery/data/51 ... C00010.JPG" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

My home is reinforced concrete in the GNO area is raised about 8 feet off the ground with parking and storage below. It is actually very easy to raise concrete homes. They simply require more and stronger support columns for the foundation and bit more engineering.

This is not my home but is typical of the Antebellum designs built with river flooding in mind. It is elevated about 8 feet.
http://www.ourcharlestonhome.com/xSites ... 295949.jpg" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;


Elevation will work in all but a raging flood or storm surge driven by a hurricane; in these cases all bets are off.
http://www.katrinadestruction.com/image ... ne+Katrina" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

The homes in the above picture were elevated but the storm surge was around 30 feet here. There is no hope for this situation and your only course of action is run inland...fast.

I would also mention that there are EU companies that write flood insurance policies in the US. You may want contact your insurance agent to double check about private flood insurance.

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Re: Flood Preps?

Post by gobobbie » Sat Jun 14, 2008 5:04 pm

Working in emergency management I can tell you a few things. Our mitagation people say the best thing to do is understand your insurance and also get yourself flood insurance. The FEMA flood maps are about as accurate as those in medevial ages that said "here there be dragons". Water is going to go where water is going to go. We see flooding in a lot of areas that never flooded before and this is due to developement.
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Re: Flood Preps?

Post by gart43 » Sat Jun 14, 2008 5:56 pm

My mom also does some emercency management stuff and thats what she said about flooding.
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Re: Flood Preps?

Post by Lynxian » Sat Jun 14, 2008 7:23 pm

raptor wrote:When you say poles I think you are thinking about a fishing camp.
Yes... Well... Erm... I'm Dutch. We like windmills. I now officially announce that we also like poles. :P
raptor wrote:In the New Orleans we have the same soil issues as the Dutch face. what we do is drive pilings down 30 or 40 feet to a hard clay layer and this stabilizes the foundation of homes. Ironically the concrete slab homes are more prone to sinking issues than elevated homes.
Ah yes, that's what I meant when I said we whack poles into the ground. We also drive pilings into the ground until a more steady surface is reached. Then a concrete foundation (slab) is made on which the house is built. Through this method I've never seen a house sink or experience any other kind of stabilization problem.
raptor wrote:My home is reinforced concrete in the GNO area is raised about 8 feet off the ground with parking and storage below. It is actually very easy to raise concrete homes. They simply require more and stronger support columns for the foundation and bit more engineering.
Schweet! May I assume you had that house custom built? Because, to my understanding, that's not standard American construction. In my opinion, every Dutch house within a flood zone should be built in that manner. Of course, none are. This is mostly because of cost issues and, believe it or not, aesthetic reasons. (Can't see why anyone bothers.. Modern Dutch architecture is nothing to write home about...) In fact, it's very difficult to deviate from Dutch house building laws. If you want to have a house that's different than the others in your street, then you've got to get permission from various instances, including, but definitely not limited to, the Ministry of Housing, Planology and Environment. Long story short; it'll take you years, you're likely to be turned down and it'll make your house at least twice as expensive to build.
raptor wrote:I would also mention that there are EU companies that write flood insurance policies in the US. You may want contact your insurance agent to double check about private flood insurance.
No, I definitely know this. It's not happening. You can insure against water damage from rain and that's it. There have been several large water-incidents in the past (during my lifetime, even) and in one case a dike even gave way due to poor maintenance, and it was emphasized that you cannot insure against such water related contingencies in The Netherlands.
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Re: Flood Preps?

Post by gobobbie » Sat Jun 14, 2008 8:57 pm

When I give training to civic groups I always stress no one ever saved a house during a disaster. Learn to walk away and let nature do what it is going to do. You can do a lot to minimize your loss but be prepared to go. It gives me the heebie jeebies to see people standing in flood water with no idea what is in that water.

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Re: Flood Preps?

Post by raptor » Sat Jun 14, 2008 9:05 pm

Lynxian wrote: Schweet! May I assume you had that house custom built? Because, to my understanding, that's not standard American construction. In my opinion, every Dutch house within a flood zone should be built in that manner. Of course, none are. This is mostly because of cost issues and, believe it or not, aesthetic reasons. (Can't see why anyone bothers.. Modern Dutch architecture is nothing to write home about...) In fact, it's very difficult to deviate from Dutch house building laws. If you want to have a house that's different than the others in your street, then you've got to get permission from various instances, including, but definitely not limited to, the Ministry of Housing, Planology and Environment. Long story short; it'll take you years, you're likely to be turned down and it'll make your house at least twice as expensive to build.
This is not typical American construction but it is common in New Orleans' older communities. The older homes (remember we are not a typical American city we still have many homes that are over 150 years old we don't tear stuff down) are frequently built up off the ground with high ceilings for better air circulation making them cooler in the summer. My house was built in 1934 and has been renovated and added on to many times since it was constructed.

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gobobbie wrote:When I give training to civic groups I always stress no one ever saved a house during a disaster. Learn to walk away and let nature do what it is going to do. You can do a lot to minimize your loss but be prepared to go. It gives me the heebie jeebies to see people standing in flood water with no idea what is in that water.


I could not agree more. Once your house starts flooding there is nothing you can do other than leave. You should also get your car(s) to high ground long before your house floods. The water will be is filthy at best; at worst it will be a cesspool. This is not water you want to be wading through.

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Re: Flood Preps?

Post by gart43 » Sun Jun 15, 2008 12:39 am

raptor wrote: The water will be is filthy at best; at worst it will be a cesspool. This is not water you want to be wading through.
It almost always makes me laugh when I see people wading through the streets with almost nothing on, until I remember how much its costing the government to fix it up and stuff, that usually shuts me up.
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Re: Flood Preps?

Post by bogie » Sun Jun 15, 2008 2:51 pm

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Those 2 homes would easily fit in here in Kansas as well. In fact, I sort of assumed that was the norm. Most house foundations go up about 2-3 feet around here.
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Re: Flood Preps?

Post by gart43 » Mon Jun 16, 2008 3:27 am

Yeah here in Minnesota people wouldn't look at you weird if you had a tall foundation, most of the houses in my town have windows that are several feet off the ground and doors far above ground level.
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Re: Flood Preps?

Post by raptor » Mon Jun 16, 2008 1:12 pm

That and flood insurance are your best bets. I was listing to some poor guy in Iowa almost in tears. His house was flooded and he had no flood insurance. He said he was not in a flood plain and did not think he needed it. Since he was not in a flood plain $250,000 of insurance would likely have cost him about $300 to $400 per year. If he paid the premium for 20 years and not needed it he would have been out of pocket at most $8,000 over that 20 year period, versus a loss of $250,000 today.

Flood insurance makes sense unless you are at the very top of the mountain. Note flood insurance also covers mudslides so even if you on a mountain side (obviously not at the peak of the mountain) you may have a claim that the homeowners insurance does not cover but the flood policy will cover.

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Re: Flood Preps?

Post by KEVINMN » Mon Jun 16, 2008 3:06 pm

I seem to recall a couple of years ago, some people in the Fargo area that dealt with impendending flooding of their homes would actually "pre-flood" their basements with fresh water, just block their drains and turn on the tap, the purpose was to keep contaminated water and sewage out, think about your choice, if you were told that your house IS going to be flooded ( at least your basement ), would you rather have it flooded with fresh water or dirty/sewer water?

Kevin

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Re: Flood Preps?

Post by raptor » Mon Jun 16, 2008 5:05 pm

KEVINMN wrote:I seem to recall a couple of years ago, some people in the Fargo area that dealt with impendending flooding of their homes would actually "pre-flood" their basements with fresh water, just block their drains and turn on the tap, the purpose was to keep contaminated water and sewage out, think about your choice, if you were told that your house IS going to be flooded ( at least your basement ), would you rather have it flooded with fresh water or dirty/sewer water?

Kevin
I would not count on this doing any good. The water will eventually mix and if you do not flood an intentional act is covered by insurance.

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