Before the flood

Protecting You and Your Family(watches/warnings)
· Flood watches are issued when rain is heavy enough to cause rivers to over flow.

· Flood warnings describe the severity of the situation and indicate when and where the flood will begin.

· Flash flood watches are issued when heavy rain is occurring or is expected to occur.

· Flash flood warnings are issued when flooding is occurring suddenly. In the event of flash flooding, move immediately to high ground.

· Educate you and your family about your community's flood warnings.

· Plan an evacuation route.

· Develop a plan for you and your family to communicate if you are separated when a flood comes.

Protecting Your Property
· If you are moving into a new home, apartment or business location, make sure you have adequate insurance coverage. Your bank, local officials or insurance representative can inform you if your location is at risk for flooding.

· Flood insurance covers direct physical losses by flood and losses resulting from flood-related erosion caused by waves or currents of water exceeding anticipated cyclical levels and accompanies a severe storm, flash flood, abnormal tide surge or a similar situation which results in flooding.

· Maintain a supply of emergency materials: plywood, plastic sheeting, nails, hammer, shovels, sandbags, flashlight, batteries, battery-operated radio, first aid kit, medication, sturdy shoes, emergency food and water, cash and credit cards.

· Install a system to prevent flood water from backing up in sewer drains.

· Locate switches to turn off gas, electricity and water.

· Make an inventory of your possessions and store it off the premises. If your stuff is damaged, this list will help facilitate the claim filing process.

After the flood

Protecting You and Your Family
· Do not enter your home if flood waters are over the first floor.

· Do not consume food that has come in contact with flood waters.

· Beware of fire hazards such as broken gas lines, flooded electrical circuits and flammable or explosive materials coming from upstream.

Protecting Your Property
· Inspect your home for damage, especially for cracks in foundations.

· Water may have weakened walls and ceilings. Be on the look out for falling walls and plaster.

· Make temporary repairs. Keep all receipts done for work on your property. Most insurance companies cover reasonable expenses.

· Notify your insurance broker or company representative as soon as possible. If you have vacated the premises, make sure your representative knows where to contact you.

· Take pictures of damaged property and keep notes. Use pictures and inventory lists to help your insurance broker and adjuster assess the damages.

· Don't be rushed into signing repair contracts. Deal with reputable contractors. If you're unsure about a contractor's credentials, contact your claims adjuster or Chamber of Commerce for referrals. Make sure the contractor you hire is experienced in repair work - not just new construction. Be sure of payment terms and consult your broker or adjuster before you sign any contracts.