Flooding can be a very costly disaster. The risk for flooding can vary within the same neighborhood and even property to property. Flooding can occur not only in identified high-risk areas, but may also occur in areas that may not have been identified as high risk. More than 20 percent of flood claims are from low to moderate flood risk areas.
The County has assessed the storm sewer system and is working on system improvements. Here are steps that you can take as a property owner to reduce your risk of flooding.
- Know how to shut off the electricity and gas to your house, in the event of flooding.
- Make a list of emergency numbers and identify a safe place to go.
- Make a household inventory of belongings, especially the contents in the basement.
- Keep important documents and medicine in a water proof container in a safe place.
- Gather supplies in case you have to leave immediately, or if services are cut off — medications, pet supplies, batteries.
- If your home needs a sump pump, get a battery backup in case the power goes out. Check on the pump regularly, especially if it’s more than eight years old.
- Read more tips for Preparing for Storms.
Consider permanent flood protection measures:
- Mark your circuit breaker box to show which circuits feed the parts of your house that are most susceptible to flooding. Turning off the electricity to the basement may reduce property damage in event of a flood.
- Check your house for water entry points. During a flood, water may enter through basement windows, basement stairwells, doors, and dryer vents. Some of these features can be protected with low walls or temporary shields.
- Install a sanitary sewer backflow valve to prevent sewer backup flooding.
- Consider elevating your house above flood levels.
- Some flood protection measures may require a building permit and others may not be safe for your type of building. Be sure to contact the Arlington County Permitting and Inspection Services Division for more information and resources.
- More information can be found in FEMA’s publication, “Homeowner’s Guide to Retrofitting: Six Ways to Protect Your House from Flooding.” .
Purchase a flood insurance policy.
- Homeowner’s insurance policies do not cover damage from floods, but because Arlington participates in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), you can purchase a separate flood insurance policy. This insurance is backed by the Federal government and is available to everyone, including properties that have previously been flooded. Additionally, because the County participates in the NFIP Community Rating System, you will be eligible for a reduction in your insurance premium.
- If you have a flood insurance policy, consider adding to the policy to cover your homes contents – typically flood insurance policies cover only the structure.
- In most cases there is a 30 day waiting period before a flood insurance policy becomes effective.
- Consider adding coverage for sewage back-ups to your existing homeowner’s policy.
- Contact your insurance agent for more information on rates and coverage.