If the weather forecasters are correct, we are in for a rainy fall and winter. Supposedly, El Niño is going to be bring a tremendous amount of rain over an extended period of time. With our dry ground unable to absorb an onslaught of moisture, you know what will happen. That’s right, mudslides and floods. Even if you don’t think you live in a high-risk area, you should take some basic precautions in case the worst happens.

The National Flood Insurance Program (www.floodsmart.gov) has come up with some suggestions for keeping your home and family safe.

  • Make sure your sump pump is working and then install a battery-operated backup, in case of a power failure. Installing a water alarm will also let you know if water is accumulating in your basement.
  • Clear debris from gutters and downspouts.
  • Anchor any 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.
  • If flooding occurs, go to higher ground and avoid areas subject to flooding.
  • Do not attempt to walk across flowing streams or drive through flooded roadways.
  • If water rises in your home before you evacuate, go to the top floor, attic, or roof.
  • Listen to a battery-operated radio for the latest storm information.
  • Turn off all utilities at the main power switch and close the main gas valve if advised to do so.
  • If you’ve come in contact with floodwaters, wash your hands with soap and disinfected water.

Above all, make sure you have the insurance coverage you need. Don’t be caught short if you need to make a claim. Find out for certain by meeting with your insurance professional and going over your policies.  It’s always better to be safe than sorry.