Protect Property From Floods: Steps for Reducing Flood Damage

Consult with a qualified professional for the best results

Most protective actions, especially those that affect the structure of a building or utility systems, should be carried out by qualified maintenance staff or professional contractors licensed to work in your state, county or city. For more information about any of the actions listed below, consult FEMA guidelines.

  1. Build with Flood Damage Resistant Materials: Flood damage resistant materials can withstand direct contact with flood water for at least 72 hours without being significantly damaged (not more than low cost or cosmetic repair, like re-painting).
  2. Dry Flood Proof Your Building: Dry flood proofing protects the building by "sealing" the building so flood waters can't enter. There are a variety of measures that can be used, such as:
    • Applying a waterproof coating or membrane to exterior walls
    • Installing watertight shields over all openings (including windows and doors)
    • Anchoring the building to resist flotation Strengthening walls to withstand flood water pressures and flood debris Install a sump pump and foundation drain system
  3. Add a Waterproof Veneer to Exterior Walls: Protect your property from shallow flooding by adding a waterproof veneer (brick backed by a waterproof membrane is one example) and sealing all the openings.
  4. Raise Electrical System Components: Raising electrical system components above the anticipated flood level will help prevent damage to the electrical system and helps avoid the potential for fire from short circuits in flooded systems. All components should be raised at least 1 foot above the 100 year flood level.
  5. Anchor Fuel Tanks: Unanchored fuel tanks outside your property can damage your building or be swept downstream, damaging other properties. The supply line to an unanchored tank in your basement can tear free and fuel can contaminate your basement. Make sure that fuel tanks are properly anchored.
  6. Raise or Flood Proof HVAC Equipment: Damage from floodwaters can extensively damage heating, ventilation, and cooling (HVAC) equipment. The extent of the damage depends on the depth of flooding and how long the equipment is underwater. A good way to protect the HVAC equipment is to move it to an upper floor or build a flood proof wall around the equipment.
  7. Install Sewer Backflow Valves: Flooding in some areas can cause sewage from sanitary sewer lines to back up through drain pipes. Backflow valves are designed to block drain pipes temporarily and prevent return flow into the house.
  8. Protect Wells from Contamination by Flooding: Flood water that enters a well can contaminate the well and make the water unsafe to drink. A licensed well drilling contractor can inspect your well and suggest improvements.