FLOOD PROTECTION INFORMATION
In conjunction with the FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency), the following articles containing flood protection information, are being made available to all Country Club Hills residents.
Your property may be high enough that it has not ever flooded. However, it can still be flooded in the future because the next flood could be worse. If you are in the floodplain, the odds are that someday your property will be damaged. Here are some facts how to protect your home from flooding.
City Flood Services: The first thing you should do is check your flood hazard. Flood maps and flood protection references are available at the Grande Prairie Public Library. You can also visit the Building Department at City Hall to see if you are in a mapped floodplain. If so, they can give you more information, such as depth of flooding over a building’s first floor and past flood problems in the area.
If requested, the Public Works Department will visit a property to review its flood problem and explain possible ways to stop flooding or prevent flood damage. These services are free. If you are in a floodplain or have experienced a flood, drainage or sewer backup problem, check out these sources of assistance.
What You Can Do: Several of the City’s efforts depend on your cooperation and assistance. Here is how you can help:
* Do not dump or throw anything into the ditches or streams. Dumping in our ditches and streams is a violation of the City. Even grass clippings and branches can accumulate and plug channels. A plugged channel cannot carry water and when it rains the water has to go somewhere. Every piece of trash contributes to flooding.
* If your property is next to a ditch or stream, please do your part and keep the banks
clear of brush and debris. The City has a stream maintenance program which can help
remove major blockages such as downed trees.
* If you see dumping or debris in the ditches or streams, contact the Public Works
Department or Police.
* Always check with the Building Department before you build on, alter, regrade, or fill on property. A permit may be needed to ensure that projects do not cause problems on other properties.
* If you see building or filling without a City permit sign posted, contact the Building
Department at 798-2616.
# Check out the following information on flood-proofing, flood insurance and flood
Flood-proofing: There are several different ways to protect a building from flood damage. One way is to keep the water away is by regrading your lot or building a small floodwall or earthen berm. These methods work if your lot is large enough, if flooding is not too deep, and if your property is not in the floodway. The Building Department can provide this information.
Another approach is to make your walls waterproof is by placing watertight closures over the doorways. This method is not recommended for houses with basements or if water will get over two feet deep.
Many houses, even those not in the floodplain, have sewers that back up into the basement during heavy rains. A plug or standpipe can stop this if the water doesn’t get more than one or two feet deep. They can be purchased at a hardware store for under $25. For deeper sewer backup flooding, talk to a plumber about overhead sewers or backup valves.
These measures are called flood-proofing or retrofitting. More information is available at the Grande Prairie Public Library. Important note: Any alteration to your building or land requires a permit from the Building Department. Even regrading or filling in the floodplain requires a permit.
If you know a flood is coming, you should shut off the gas and electricity and move valuable contents upstairs. It is unlikely that you will get much warming, so a detailed checklist prepared advance would help ensure that you don’t forget anything.
Flood Insurance: If you don’t have flood insurance, talk to your insurance agent. Homeowner’s insurance policies often do not cover damage from floods. However, because the city participates in the National Flood Insurance Program, you can purchase a separate flood insurance policy. This insurance is backed by Federal government and is available to everyone, even for properties that have been flooded.
Some people have purchased flood insurance because it was required by the bank when they got mortgage or home improvement loans. Usually these policies just cover the building’s structure and not the contents. During the kind of flooding that happens in some areas of the county, there is usually more damage to the furniture and contents than there is to the structure.
Flood Safety: Do not walk through flowing water. Drowning is the number one cause of flood deaths, mostly during flash floods. Currents can be deceptive; six inches of moving water can knock you off your feet. If you walk in standing water, use a pole or stick to ensure that the ground is still there.
Do not drive through a flooded area. More people drown in their cars than anywhere else. Don’t drive around road barriers; the road or bridge may be washed out.
Stay away from power lines and electrical wires. The number two flood killer after drowning is electrocution. Electrical current can travel through water. Report downed power lines to the Power Company or City emergency management office.
Have your electricity turned off by the Power Company. Some appliances, such as television sets, keep electrical charges even after they have been unplugged. Don’t use appliances or motors that have gotten wet unless they have been taken apart, cleaned, and dried.
Look out for animals, especially snakes. Small animals that have been flooded out of their homes may seek shelter in yours. Use a pole or stick to poke and turn things over and scare away small animals.
Look before you step. After a flood, the ground and floors are covered with debris including broken bottles and nails. Floors and stairs that have been covered with mud can be very slippery.
Be alert for gas leaks. Use a flashlight to inspect for damage. Don’t smoke or use candles, lanterns or open flames unless you know the gas has be
Disaster and hazard preparation inormation can be obtained at; www.fema.gov/plan/index.shtm
Nearby rain gage and weather dates can be found at; www.water.weather.gov