National Flood Awareness Week: March 16-22

Did you know that floods are the most common — and costliest — natural disaster in the nation affecting every state and territory? 

Floods can be a byproduct of storms, hurricanes, water backup due to poor drainage systems, even broken water mains.  Particularly in Florida, where heavy rain falls nearly each week, flood safety awareness should be a top priority for homeowners and families.

According to our carrier Tower Hill insurance, from 2008 to 2012, the average residential flood claim amounted to more than $38,000.  Flood insurance is the best way to protect yourself from devastating financial loss.  It's important to take steps to ensure that your home or business are protected in case of natural disaster.

The Flood Safety Awareness Week message from NOAA and FEMA this year is to:  know your risk, take action, and be an example. 

Know your risk:  Sign up for weather alerts and check the weather forecast regularly at weather.gov. Now is the time to be prepared by ensuring you have real-time access to flood warnings via mobile devices, weather radio and local media, and avoiding areas that are under these warnings. 

Take action:  You and your family members may not be together when weather strikes, so plan how you will contact one another by developing your family communication plan.  Because flooding can occur in the blink of an eye, it's a good idea to develop a plan for your family to help minimize potential losses and ensure your family's safety.  And don't forget about Fido! 

Flood insurance is also of the utmost importance, particularly in our area of Florida. Just a few inches of water inside a home can cost tens of thousands of dollars in damage that typically will not be covered by a standard homeowner’s insurance policy.

Be an example:  once you have taken action, tell family, friends, and co-workers to do the same. Facebook, Twitter, etc. make it easier than ever to be a good example and to share the steps you took to become weather-ready. NOAA’s mission includes managing our coastal and marine resources, and FEMA's mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.  Using the resources available today, we can prepare for flooding tomorrow.

Two great resources for flood safety are floodsmart.gov/familyplan or ready.gov/prepare, where NOAA and FEMA have worked together to prepare information, tips and exercises that you can easily implement in your home.

Along with flooded homes come flooded roadways.  Each year, many unnecessarily lose their lives because they failed to heed warnings about high water levels, or underestimated the risks even if operating a pickup or SUV.  Visit the "Turn Around, Don't Drown" website to learn more about the hazards of walking or driving a vehicle through flood waters.

At RTI, we highly recommend using this week as a reminder to call your RTI agent and ensure that your homeowners and flood insurance policies will cover you and your loved ones in this type of natural disaster. Contact us today!