Every year, flooding causes more property damage in the United States than any other type of natural disaster. While recent construction practices and regulations have made new homes less prone to flooding, many existing structures remain susceptible.
Throughout the country, there is a growing interest from property owners to develop practical and cost effective methods for reducing or eliminating exposures to flooding. Several effective ways include acquisition and relocation of a building to a site not subject to flooding, construction of flood walls or berms to keep water away from the property, or retrofitting structures to make them flood-proof.
Retrofitting is a different approach from the other ways because the property itself remains subject to flooding while the building is modified to prevent or minimize flooding of habitable space. There are several recognizable approaches to retrofitting:
- Construction of barriers (flood walls, berms)
- Dry flood-proofing (water tight floor and wall systems)
- Elevation of the structure above flood protection levels
- Wet flood-proofing (permits entry and passage of flood waters)
In the event of pending flood threats it is always advisable to take the following emergency actions:
- Create flood-way openings in non-habitable areas such as garage doors
- Elevate furniture above flood protection levels
- Sand bagging to reduce erosion and scouring
- Seal off sewer lines to the dwelling to prevent the back flow of sewer waters