Tampa, FL (PRWEB) March 20, 2013
The Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS), a leading national expert with respect to preparing for – and repairing and rebuilding structures after – a catastrophe to make them more disaster-resistant is providing free guidance on ways home and business owners can reduce their risk of flood damage during Flood Safety Awareness Week (March 18 – 25).
Average annual flood losses in the U.S. during the past 10 years (2002 to 2011) totaled more than $2.9 billion, according to the National Flood Insurance Program (FloodSmart.gov).
Floods and flash floods can occur in all 50 states. In inland areas, away from a river bed or behind a levee, the greatest risk at this time of year typically is rising water due to snow melt or heavy rains associated with thunderstorms. Additional risk comes from hurricanes, which can bring flooding to areas along the coast and much farther inland, as demonstrated last year by Hurricane Sandy.
“Unfortunately, every year, homes and businesses across the United States are damaged or destroyed by floodwaters” said Julie Rochman, IBHS president and CEO. “While elevating properties or relocating outside of flood zones are the most effective ways to protect against damage from flooding, there are other things that can effectively reduce the risk of severe damage.”
The first step toward preparing for flooding is evaluating your flood risk. Knowing the base flood elevation (BFE) for a property is essential. The BFE refers to the level water will reach during what is often referred to as a “100-year event”; that it, such an event has a one percent annual chance of occurring in any given year.
“It is important to note that a '100-year event' does not mean that this type of flood will happen only one time in a hundred years,” Rochman said. “The chances of such a flood occurring actually resets every single year, so a 100-year event has a one percent chance of happening every single year. If you have a 30-year mortgage, this means you have a 30 percent chance of seeing your home flood during the life of that mortgage. ”
To fully understand the flood vulnerability of a particular location, property owners can compare the finished floor elevation with up-to-date flood map for that particular area. Community Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) are available through the FEMA Map Service Center website, FEMA Map Service Center. Tips and step-by-step instructions for determining flood risk are available at http://www.disastersafety.org/flood/determining-your-flood-zone-designation/.
Property owners also should check building department records or the property survey for the elevation of the structure’s lowest floor or enclosed area in the building – including any space below ground level on all sides, such as a basement). If this information cannot be found, a licensed surveyor could be hired to make that determination.
IBHS recommends that homeowners take the following steps now, before a flood threatens, to reduce interior water damage:
IBHS recommends that commercial property owners take the following steps now, before a flood threatens, to reduce interior water damage:
IBHS is a leading national expert with respect to preparing for – and repairing and rebuilding structures after – a catastrophe to make them more disaster-resistant. To arrange an interview with IBHS, contact Joseph King at 813-675-1045/813-442-2845, firstname.lastname@example.org or via direct message on Twitter @jsalking.
Visit DisasterSafety.org for more information about how to make your buildings more resistant to a variety of disasters, big and small. Follow IBHS on Twitter at @DisasterSafety and on Facebook.
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About the IBHS - IBHS is an independent, nonprofit, scientific research and communications organization supported by the property insurance industry. The organization works to reduce the social and economic effects of natural disasters and other risks on residential and commercial property by conducting building science research and advocating improved construction, maintenance and preparedness practices.