Planning and advanced
preparation can significantly reduce stress
and increase your ability to protect your home
and family against low level flooding.
Here are some practical steps you can take to
protect your home from low level flooding from
several inches up to several feet.
First, decide how you will enter and exit
your home after you have finished securing
it. If you are just expecting water you
could remove a screen from an open window.
If preparing for a hurricane, you will want
to pre-cut a piece of plywood that can be
placed or anchored in front of a door (that
opens inward) and that you can step over to
leave your home. Next using 2” duct tape or
packing tape (if the surface is dry or can
be dried), seal the opening around your door
across the bottom and up both sides of the
door frame for several feet. Then attach
lightweight plastic* in front of each
opening, extending at least one foot to each
side of the door and in front on the ground
for one to two feet. Place filled sandbags
on the plastic making sure that they settle
snugly to the door surface and extend beyond
the actual door opening. Place additional
rows overlapping joints in bottom layer for
one foot or more up each door, depending on
the amount of flooding expected.
Although woven sandbags are most effective,
there are other things you can use if they
are unavailable. Garbage bags filled with
wet towels, bedding or sod from the yard can
be used, as well as bags of play sand.
Whatever is put in the bags, make sure that
they have sufficient weight to keep them
from floating away and remove any air
trapped in the plastic to prevent the bags
from breaking open.
After the flooding is over (follow all
Emergency Management return guidelines),
remove the sandbags. During hurricane season
you may want to keep your sandbags in case
you need them again, storing them in a dry
area out of the sun to prevent deterioration
(a garage, shed or under a tarp) and off the
ground as sandbags filled with dirt can
cause staining on concrete or pool decks.
When you do dispose of them, since many
contain dirt or sandy dirt they can simply
be added to your lawn or garden.
As hurricane season rapidly approaches,
media coverage increases and so does the
apprehension of many Florida residents.
Charley and Wilma made us all too aware that
coastal communities are not the only areas
to be impacted. Debate over whether the
increased number and strength of storms is
due to global warming is well and good for
the experts, but the bottom line for
individual homeowners is “What does that
mean for me, now?” Hurricane season
officially starts June 1. As anyone who
stood in line for plywood or gas can tell
you…planning ahead is the key to
successfully safeguarding your home and
*Use 1-2 mil plastic such as painters sheeting
or lawn and trash bags because heavier
plastics do not seal as securely.