First some specifics: (Source) is Terry Sheridan
Safeguard in-home electrical and climate systems
Raise switches, sockets, circuit breakers and wiring at least a foot above the expected flood level in your area, the IBHS website advises.
Modify your furnace, water heater and any other anchored indoor equipment so that it sits above your property's flood level.
Anchor and raise outdoor equipment
Fuel tanks, air-conditioning units and generators should be anchored and raised above your flood level.
Unanchored fuel tanks can break free, and severed supply lines will contaminate surrounding ground, the IBHS warns.
Jose Mitrani, engineer and professor at the OHL School of Construction at Florida International University in Miami, cautions that electrical power units and generators should never sit on the ground.
"These backup facilities will be inundated (by water) and useless," he warns.
Modify water valves
A flooded sewer system can cause sewage to back up into your home. So that you won't find yourself knee-deep in you-know-what, install an interior or exterior backflow valve, IBHS advises.
The Federal Alliance for Safe Homes, or FLASH, recommends gate valves. They are more complex, and you operate them by hand. But they provide stronger seals than flap or check valves, which open automatically to allow water to flow out and then close when water tries to get in.
Valves should be installed on all pipes entering the house, FLASH advises.
Determine how water flows around your house
Called the grading or slope, the angle of the ground can direct water to or from your house. Obviously, it's best if the home was built so that water drains away from the building.
This is easy enough to determine by watching how water flows or accumulates during an average rainstorm, says FLASH President Leslie Chapman-Henderson.
If your street is prone to standing water even after a fairly ordinary rainstorm, talk to your county planning or environmental services department, advises Chapman-Henderson. "A major part of their job is water flow, and they can make suggestions."
Opt for a major retrofit
If your home floods frequently and moving isn't an option, you may need to take drastic and costly measures.
FLASH's home safety program suggests three options:
- Raise your home on piers or columns so that the lowest floor is above the flood level. If that sounds expensive -- well, it would be. Experts tell FLASH that such an undertaking would cost $20,000 and up, Chapman-Henderson says.
- "Wet-proof" your home by installing foundation vents that would allow water to flow through the building, instead of rising inside and causing more damage. You'd need at least two vents on different walls. A 1,000-square-foot house would require 7 square feet of flood vents, according to FLASH.
- Do some "dry proofing" by applying coatings and other sealing materials to your walls to keep out floods.
Take last-minute measures as waters rise
- Clear gutters, drains and downspouts.
- Move furniture, rugs, electronics and other belongings to upper floors, or at least raise them off a ground floor.
- Shut off electricity at the breaker panel.
- Elevate major appliances onto concrete blocks if they're potentially in harm's way from flooding.
Read more: http://www.bankrate.com/finance/weather/natural-disasters/6-ways-protect-home-flooding.aspx#ixzz3h7woQ02P
What does FEMA say? Read this.
In this age of field experiments, we need to know how cost effective are each of these strategies? If you adopt 3 of the 6, how much does this reduce your damage caused by a flood? This is a test of the optimistic adaptation hypothesis.
Poorer households and "behavioral" households will be less likely to take these precautions.
Note that if coastal households believe that FEMA will bail them out if a disaster occurs, then households will be less likely to invest in these costly self protection measures. This anticipated moral hazard effect induced by FEMA must be discussed and dealt with.
As I talk about in my 2010 Climatopolis book, I would like to see the insurance industry be allowed to engage in much more spatial price discrimination so that they can charge higher home premiums in riskier areas and created a nuanced contract that offers a cheaper premium if home owners invest in more flood precautions that can be cross-checked by the insurers. These small ball choices represent how an urban economy becomes more resilient in the face of flood shocks.
To enhance adaptation, we need continuing spatial refined models of the geography of flood risk. Which areas within a city are at the greatest risk? Should housing in such areas be required to meet more stringent regulatory standards? Should people who insist on living in such areas sign a form acknowledging that they will not receive a FEMA bailout if a disaster does occur? Would such a social contract be "time consistent" or would the government renege on its original promise to the tax payers?