Your home is one of the largest financial and emotional investments you are likely to make.  Advanced planning and preperation can reduce flood damage to your home and belongings in times of disaster.  Remember, the safety of you and your family remains the highest priority when facing a disaster.  Prepare as time and resources permit. Things to consider when preparing your home:

1.  Insurance coverage.  Homeowner's policies do not cover flooding.  A seperate policy must be purchased from the National Flood Insurance Program.  Contact your local insurance agent for details.  Remember, it takes 30 days for a flood policy to take effect, so act early!

2.  Protecting furniture and personal belongings.  Move or store furniture, personal belongings, and appliances on an upper level of the home if your home is multistory; or place furniture and appliances on concrete blocks at least 12 inches above the projected flood elevation for your area.  Don't forget to secure outside items as well, such as lawn and garden equipment.

3.  Utilities.  Before the home floods, turn off all utilities at the main power switch and close the main gas valve if advised to do so.  After flooding, your utility company may require that service blockage be restored only by trained utility representatives.

4.  Sewer.  To protect your home from sewer backup, consider having a valve or one-way check valve installed where the sewer main leaves the house.  Remember that a sewer system blockage could force water in the home's drainage system higher than expected.

5.  Temporary barriers.  Sandbags and water-inflatable dams can provide temporary, self-supporting barriers to fight against rising floodwaters.

6.  Implement your family emergency plan.  You have spent time developing a written family emergency plan.  Now is the time to secure your valuable family data, important documents and photos.  Remember to back up electronic computer files and store them on a portable storage device you will take with you, such as birth/health records, insurance policies, tax information, and digital photo files.