2014-03-27 / Community

MSP encourages residents to be ready for flooding

LANSING – As Michigan warms up after this winter’s record-breaking snow and cold, the Michigan State Police, Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division is encouraging Michiganders to prepare for flooding.

“Now is the time to think about flooding preparedness and safety,” said Capt. Chris A. Kelenske, Deputy State Director of Emergency Management and Homeland Security and commander of the MSP/EMHSD. “This spring’s flooding will depend on a delicate balance between time, temperature and rainfall. A slow melt and thaw will reduce the chances of an emergency or disaster.”

The National Weather Service is forecasting a 40 to 90 percent flood risk for the state of Michigan. The typical flood risk for this time of year is 5 to 20 percent. A higher risk for flooding does not mean record flooding will occur but indicates that some flooding is likely.

A quick spring thaw or heavy rain could lead to widespread flooding statewide. While flooding is most prevalent near low-lying areas and bodies of water, it can occur almost anywhere, including near small streams, creeks and even basements.

To prepare for a flood:

• Create an emergency preparedness kit with a 72-hour supply of water, including three gallons per person.

• Scan and store important documents on an online, cloudbased program.

• Put important documents and valuables in a water-proof container on the top floor of your home.

• Understand how to safely turn off electricity and gas lines in your home.

• Create an inventory of your household items and take photos of the interior and exterior of your home.

• Consider installing sewer backflow valves to prevent flood water from backing up into your home through drain pipes.

• Double-check sump pumps to ensure they are working properly. If possible, have a battery backup system.

• Keep materials like sandbags, plywood, plastic sheeting and lumber handy for emergency water-proofing.

• Find out how many feet your property is above or below possible flood levels. When predicted flood levels are broadcast, you can determine if you may be flooded.

• Raise or flood-proof heating, ventilating and air conditioning equipment by elevating equipment above areas prone to flooding. Another method is to leave equipment where it is and build a concrete or masonry block flood wall around it.

• Anchor fuel tanks. Unanchored fuel tanks can be easily moved by floodwaters.

In addition to flooding preparedness, citizens are encouraged to purchase flood insurance. Homeowners’ or property owners’ insurance does not typically cover flood damage.

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