RICHMOND — With spring rains coming and hurricane season soon to follow, the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation warns that flood preparedness is a must.
“Floods are a significant threat, not only in coastal areas, but across the commonwealth. Our goal is to empower people to assess their flood risk and take the necessary actions to protect their homes and property,” said Matthew Wells, director of the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation.
DCR coordinates flood-protection activities and helps communities benefit from the National Flood Insurance Program, which allows residents of nearly 90% of Virginia’s communities to purchase federally backed flood insurance.
“DCR’s Flood Awareness website offers tools and information including fact sheets, a cost calculator and a risk-assessment tool. Flood Awareness Week, which runs March 12-18, is an excellent time to use these resources and prioritize flood readiness,” Wells said.
DCR said even a “small” flood can be catastrophic, noting just one inch of water in a home can cause more than $25,000 in damages according to FEMA and National Flood Insurance Program estimates. Residents can learn about property flood risks by keying their address into the Virginia Flood Risk Information System.
While standard homeowners and renters insurance policies don’t cover property damage from floods, only 3% of Virginians have flood insurance, according to the National Flood Insurance Program.
“Virginians should review their insurance policies now to make sure they have the coverage they need,” said DCR Director of Dam Safety and Floodplain Management Wendy Howard-Cooper. “It takes 30 days for a new flood insurance policy to go into effect, so it’s important to be covered before a storm.”
Additional ways to reduce potential flood damage include:
- Storing important documents in waterproof containers on an upper floor.
- Caulking windows, doors and gaps where pipes and wires that enter a building.
- Labeling propane tanks with the owner’s name and address.
- Choosing tile or other waterproof flooring over carpeting on lower floors.
“Anywhere it can rain, it can flood,” Howard-Cooper added. “DCR is proud to be Virginia’s partner in flood preparedness.”
For more information, visit dcr.virginia.gov/floodawarenessweek.