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Would you know how to protect yourself and your family in the event of a flood? ReadyOhio encourages Ohioans to learn what to do to prepare for and recover from all hazards, including floods. Flooding is the nation’s most common and most costly natural disaster. In Ohio, flooding can occur after spring rains, heavy thunderstorms or winter snow thaws.
Know the Terms.
A flood watch may be issued by the National Weather Service for the potential of rapid flooding from either torrential downpours, dam breaks or ice jam breaks. A flood watch may also be issued when the onset of flooding is much slower - usually greater than six hours. Watches can be issued up to 12 hours prior to the possible flood event. Listen to a NOAA Weather Radio or local television or radio news station for up-to-date weather information, including upgrades to flood warnings.
A flash flood warning signifies a short duration of intense rain or rapid flooding of counties, communities, streams or urban areas. Flash floods may result from torrential downpours, dam breaks or ice jam breaks. Take immediate action to protect life and property. Evacuate the area. Move to higher ground. Do not drive through flooded roadways. Continue listening to local news station weather reports for up-to-date weather information and evacuation instructions.
A river flood warning is issued by the NWS for specific communities or areas along a river where flooding is imminent or occurring. River flood warnings will provide crest forecasts. Take immediate action to protect life and property. Evacuate the area. Move to higher ground. Do not drive through flooded roadways. Continue listening to local news station weather reports for up-to-date weather information and evacuation instructions.
Prepare an evacuation plan. Determine your home’s flood risk by contacting the Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ Floodplain Management Division. Decide in advance where your family would go in the event of an emergency evacuation and establish a family contact person outside of your area. If there is a possibility of a flash flood, move immediately to higher ground. Do not wait for instructions to evacuate.
Make a kit. Include a flashlight, portable radio, extra batteries, first aid kit, bottled water (at least one gallon per person per day for at least three days), nonperishable food, manual can opener, blankets or sleeping bags, protective clothing. Click here for a more complete disaster supplies kit checklist.
Protect your home against rising waters. Before a flood event, mitigate your home. Move furniture and valuables to higher floors of your home. Raise the furnace, hot water heater and electrical system panel with the help of professionals.
Purchase and maintain flood insurance. Flood insurance is not covered by homeowner or renters insurance policies. According to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), a home is four times more likely to be damaged by flooding than by fire during the course of a 30-year mortgage.
Visit FloodSmart.gov to learn more about flood insurance. This site provides basic information about flood insurance and provides features to obtain an estimated flood insurance premium, assess a building’s flood risk and find an insurance agent in your community.
There is a 30-day waiting period before a new or modified flood insurance policy goes into effect, unless it is a condition for obtaining a mortgage.
The standard flood insurance policy covers direct losses caused by a flood, less an insurance deductible.
Flood insurance protects against damages caused by surface flooding with limited coverage in basements. It usually does not cover damages from sewer backup or sump pump failure.
Two types of flood insurance coverage are available:
Structure Coverage for walls, floors, insulation and furnace, and for specified items permanently attached to the insured structure
Contents Coverage for items contained within an insured structure
Homes can be insured up to $250,000; furnishings and contents coverage is available up to $100,000. Commercial (business) coverage is available up to $500,000.