State Police Encourage Michiganders to Prepare for Potential Flooding

Contact: Ron Leix, MSP/EMHSD Public Information Officer, 517-336-6464
Agency: State Police

Michigan Flood Ready

March 20, 2015

LANSING.
As Michigan warms up after February's record-breaking cold, the Michigan State Police, Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division (MSP/EMHSD) is encouraging citizens and businesses to prepare for potential flooding.

"In Michigan, spring begins the flooding season," said Capt. Chris A. Kelenske, Deputy State Director of Emergency Management and Homeland Security and commander of the MSP/EMHSD. "To be prepared and safe, Michiganders should protect their property against any flooding hazards and double-check to ensure they're covered by insurance."

In April 2014, heavy rains and a rapid snowpack melt flooded rivers in the north-central Lower Peninsula, resulting in a governor's disaster declaration for Isabella, Mecosta, Missaukee, Muskegon, Newaygo, Osceola, Roscommon and Wexford counties. Gov. Rick Snyder approved more than $1 million from the Disaster and Emergency Contingency Fund to help the affected counties and their communities recover from the incident.

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:

  • Put important documents and valuables in water-proof containers on the top floor of your home. Consider scanning and storing important documents in an online, cloud-based program.
  • Learn 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 and propane tanks. Unanchored tanks can be easily moved by floodwaters.
  • Create an emergency preparedness kit with a 72-hour supply of water, including three gallons per person.

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

The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) estimates that 90 percent of all natural disasters involve flooding. An inch of water can require a property owner to replace carpet, drywall, floor boards, moldings, doors and other belongings. Additionally, clean-up of mud and residue can be costly, as can repairing any mold and mildew damage that may occur.

To be covered from flood damage, an individual must purchase National Flood Insurance through an insurance broker who works with the Federal Emergency Management Agency. For more information, go to www.floodsmart.gov.

For more information about what to do before, during and after flooding, go to the Michigan Flood Ready website at www.michigan.gov/mifloodready or follow the MSP/EMHSD on Twitter at @MichEMHS.

The Michigan State Police, Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division is responsible for coordinating state and federal resources to assist local government in response and relief activities in the event of an emergency or disaster, as well as coordinating homeland security initiatives and various federal grants.