National Flood Safety Awareness Week is March 16-20, 2015

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1 Armond Budish Cuyahoga County Executive FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Media Contacts: Christopher Harris: (216) or Rich Luchette: (216) , (216) , or National Flood Safety Awareness Week is March 16-20, 2015 CLEVELAND - March 16 th through 20th is 2015 National Flood Safety Awareness Week. Flash flooding is the number one weather-related cause of death, resulting in an average of 70+ deaths per year in the United States. Being aware of the risks associated with flooding can help you protect yourself and your loved ones from potential damage and financial losses caused by flooding. Turn Around Don t Drown! Six inches of swiftly moving water can sweep you off of your feet; cars can be swept away by less than two feet of moving water. Never cross a flooded stream. If you are caught on a flooded road and waters are rising rapidly around you, get out of the car quickly and move to higher ground. Flood proof your home. Consider structural modifications to minimize the damage flooding can cause. Safeguard in-home electrical systems by raising switches, sockets, circuit breakers and wiring at least a foot above the expected flood level. Be extra cautious when traveling at night. Stay far away from downed power lines and electrical wires. Homeowners or renter s insurance is your protection against a devastating loss involving your property and personal belongings. Flood insurance is available through the federally-subsidized National Flood Insurance Program, and can be purchased through your insurance agent. For more information, call the National Helpline toll free, at or visit For additional information contact the Cuyahoga County Office of Emergency Management at or visit our website at ready.cuyahogacounty.us.

2 Flood Safety Awareness Week: Protect Yourself from Flood Waters National Flood Safety Awareness Week is March th 2015, and the events in May 2014 shows that floods and flash floods can strike with little or no advance warning. Heavy rains can be channeled into gullies and ravines, turning quiet streams, creeks, and rivers into rampaging torrents in minutes. The Cuyahoga County Office of Emergency Management would like share important flood safety tips. Act Now To Be Prepared Develop an evacuation plan and emergency kits for all members of the household that includes: A meeting place outside of the house. An escape route out of the floodplain and away from floodwaters. Flashlights, portable radio, batteries. Emergency supplies of canned food, medicine, first aid supplies and drinking water. An itemized list of all valuables including furnishings, clothing and other personal property. Keep the list in a safe, waterproof place. Flood proof your home: Find out how many feet your property is above and below possible flood levels. Keep sandbags, plywood, plastic sheeting and lumber handy for emergency waterproofing. Make sure your home or apartment is covered by Flood Insurance. Flood insurance is not included in typical homeowner s or renter s policies. It is available through the National Flood Insurance Program, and must be purchased through your insurance agent. There is a 30-day waiting period for coverage to start. Other insurance to consider is Sewer Backup Coverage, as floods can cause sewage backup into houses, and "Guaranteed Replacement Value" homeowners' insurance, which insures your home will be rebuilt in the event of a disaster, no matter what the cost. Speak to your insurance agency regarding these coverage policies. During the Flood Turn Around Don t Drown. Do not walk or drive through a flooded area. Six inches of moving water can knock you off your feet and two feet of moving water can move a car. Do not drive around road barriers as the road or bridge may be washed out. Stay away from power lines and electrical wires. Electrical current can travel through water and can cause electrocution.

3 At home, shut off gas and electricity and move valuable contents upstairs. Monitor the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Weather Radio or local radio and TV station broadcasts for information. Evacuate immediately and to designated locations if advised to by officials. After the Flood Listen to the radio or TV for instructions from local officials. Always wait until an area has been declared safe before entering. Be cautious of damaged roads and downed power lines. At home be alert for gas leaks, use a flashlight to inspect for damage. Do not smoke or use candles, lanterns, or open flames. Do not turn on electrical appliances until an electrician has checked the system and appliances. Throw out medicine and food that has had contact with flood waters. Test drinking water for safety. Flooded basements should be drained and cleaned as soon as possible to minimize damage. When surrounding waters have subsided, begin draining the basement in stages, about one-third of the water volume each day. Being aware of the risks associated with flooding can help you protect yourself and your loved ones from potential damage and financial losses caused by flooding. For more information, call the National Helpline toll free, at or visit For additional information, contact the Cuyahoga County Office of Emergency Management at or online at ready.cuyahogacounty.us.

4 A Preparedness Resource from The Cuyahoga County Office of Emergency Management At-A-Glance Flooding If a flood is possible, monitor the radio, television, and online news sources for information. Know the difference between a flood watch and a flood warning. A flood watch means flooding is possible. A flood warning means flooding is occurring or will occur soon. Be prepared! Pack a bag with important items in case you need to evacuate. Don't forget to include essential medications, food and water, and a battery-powered radio. Safety Tips Before a Flood Build an Emergency kit and make a family communications plan. Did you know? Avoid building in a floodplain unless you elevate and reinforce your home. Elevate the furnace, water heater and electric panel in your home if you live in an area that has a high flood risk. Consider installing check valves to prevent flood water from backing up into the drains of your home. If feasible, construct barriers to stop flood water from entering the building and seal walls in basements with waterproofing compounds. A car can be easily carried away by just two feet of floodwater. For additional information on flooding, go to Safety Tips During Flooding Be aware that flash flooding can occur. If there is any possibility of a flash flood, move immediately to higher ground. Do not wait for instructions to move. Be aware of stream, drainage channels, canyons and other areas known to flood suddenly. Flash floods can occur in these areas with or without typical warnings such as rain clouds or heavy rain. If you must evacuate, you should secure your home. If you have time, bring in outdoor furniture. Move essential items to an upper floor. Safety Tips After a Flood Use local alerts and warning systems to get information and expert informed advice as soon as available. Avoid moving water. Turn Around, Don t Drown! Stay away from damaged areas unless your assistance has been specifically requested by police, fire, or relief organization. Sources: Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Cuyahoga County Office of Emergency Management P:

5 A Preparedness Resource from The Cuyahoga County Office of Emergency Management At-A-Glance Residential Flood Insurance Just a few inches of water from a flood can cause tens of thousands of dollars in damage. Flood insurance is the best way to protect yourself from devastating financial loss. Flood insurance is available to owners and/or renters of houses, condominiums, apartments and commercial structures. Costs vary depending on how much insurance is purchased, what it covers and the property's flood risk. Most homeowners insurance policies do not include flood coverage. Check with your insurance provider or insurance agent about your flood coverage. Homeowner Moderate-to-low risk: Most homeowners in a moderate-to-low risk area are eligible for coverage at a lower rate through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Even though flood insurance isn't required, more than 20% of all NFIP flood claims occur in moderate-to-low risk areas. High-risk: If you live in a high-risk area, a standard rated policy is the only option for you. It offers separate building and contents coverage. Flood insurance premiums are calculated based on risk factors including: Year of construction, number of floors, the location of its contents, its flood risk (i.e. its flood zone), the deductible you choose, and the amount of building and contents coverage. If your home is in a high-risk flood area and you have obtained a mortgage through a federally regulated or insured lender, you are required to purchase a flood insurance policy. Did you know? From 2007 to 2011, the average residential flood insurance claim amounted to almost $30,000. For additional information on flooding, go to For Renters If you are a tenant, it is wise to insure your contents. The policy premium is based on several factors, including the flood risk of the building that you occupy. For Condo Owner/Renter If you rent or own your condominium unit, it is a good idea to purchase both building (if you own the unit) and contents coverage. If you are a tenant, contents-only coverage is available. The policy premium is based on several factors, including the flood risk of the building that you occupy. Flood insurance for basements and areas below the lowest elevated floor Coverage is limited for basements regardless of zone or date of construction. It is also limited in areas below the lowest elevated floor, depending on the flood zone and date of construction. Areas where coverage is limited include, basements, crawl spaces, and enclosed areas beneath buildings elevated on full-story foundation, including "walkout basements". Sources: Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) Cuyahoga County Office of Emergency Management P:

6 A Preparedness Resource from the Cuyahoga County Office of Emergency Management Homeowners/Renter Insurance for Emergencies & Disasters Make Sure Adequate Coverage Is Part of Your Disaster Plan The heavy rains of May 2014 flooded hundreds of basements throughout Cuyahoga County. Many residents had not foreseen flooding or the ensuing damage. One homeowner said he had lived in the same house for 27 years and had never before experienced flooding Homeowners or renter s insurance is your protection against a devastating loss! If you are a homeowner, you need to make sure you understand the limits of your coverage. If you rent, your landlord may insure the building you live in, but the landlord s insurance won t cover your personal belongings. Insurance Policies to Consider Flood Insurance Flood insurance is not included in typical homeowner s or renter s policies, but it can be added for a reasonable cost. Flood insurance is available through the federally-subsidized National Flood Insurance Program, and can be purchased through your insurance agent. Your agent can explain the details of available coverage. Remember though, there is a 30-day waiting period for coverage to start. Sewer Backup Coverage Floods can cause sewage backup into houses, but flood insurance generally does not cover sewer back-up. Most homeowner and business insurance policies also do not cover sewer backup, but Sewer Backup Coverage is available from most insurers for a nominal cost. Guaranteed Replacement Value Insurance Homeowners should also consider "Guaranteed Replacement Value" homeowners' insurance. This means that your home will be rebuilt in the event of a disaster, no matter what the cost. Since the cost of building a new home tends to increase over the years, guaranteed replacement value policies will absorb the increased costs and provide the homeowner with a cushion.

7 Questions to Ask Your Insurance Agent Do I have adequate insurance? Are my policies up to date? Are my valuables covered? How do deductibles work after a loss? How does my insurance work after a disaster? Does my home need to be reappraised? Does my insurance protect my entire home including remodeling and additions? What is the claim-filing process if a disaster hits my area? Do I need Flood/Sewer Damage insurance and Guaranteed Replacement Value insurance? What kind of natural disaster plan should I have? Steps to Take Before a Disaster Inventory your personal property. o Record/photograph model and serial numbers for expensive items. o Keep receipts for these items they provide information such as: purchase price, purchase date, name of store, etc. Make photocopies of insurance policies; store in secure location away from home. Have insurance producer and insurance company s phone numbers readily available. Be familiar with the coverage of your insurance policy. o Make sure you understand the difference between actual cash value (ACV) and replacement cost coverage for your contents. ACV replaces contents at cost minus depreciation. Replacement cost replaces your contents at today s prices. Federal and State Assistance Programs Federal or State disaster assistance (typically in the form of low-interest loans and/or grants) may be available to homeowners, renters and business owners. However, the program is for large-scale disasters and only provides limited assistance to individuals. See for more details. Remember The best way to protect your family and property from disaster is to make sure that you have adequate insurance! For more information, contact the Ohio Department of Insurance through their consumer hotline at Cuyahoga County Office of Emergency Management P:

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