1. Check with the Public Works Department (281.292.4648) on the extent of past flooding in your area. City staff can tell you about the causes of repetitive flooding, what the City is doing about it, and what would be an appropriate flood protection level. They can also visit your property to discuss flood protection alternatives.
2. Prepare for flooding by doing the following:
- Know the flood safety guidance discussed below.
- Know how to shut off the electricity and gas to your house when a flood comes.
- Make a list of emergency numbers and identify a safe place to go.
- Make a household inventory
- Put insurance policies, valuable papers, medicine, etc in a safe place.
- Develop a response plan - consult the American Red Cross website for information on creating an emergency preparedness plan.
- The American Red Cross has also published the brochure Repairing Your Flooded Home, which provides information on planning and preparing for a flood event as well as repairing after a flood event.
3. Consider some permanent flood protection measures.
- Mark your fuse box to show the circuits to the floodable areas. Turning off the power to these floodable areas can reduce property damage (fires) and save lives.
- Consider flood protection alternatives such as flood walls or berms.
- Note that some flood protection measures may require permits. Please check with the Public Works Department for more information.
- A copy of Homeowner's Guide to Retrofitting: Six Ways to Protect Your House from Flooding are available at no charge to download from FEMA.
4. Talk to the Engineering Division for information on financial assistance.
- If you are interested in elevating your building above the flood level, there are grants available through FEMA which could cover a percentage of the costs. FEMA’s Homeowner’s Guide to the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program is a publication that explains the grant process.
- Get a flood insurance policy - it will help pay for repairs after a flood and, in some cases, it will help pay the costs of elevating a substantially damaged building.
5. Get a flood insurance policy.
- Homeowner's insurance policies do not cover damage from floods. However, some owners have purchased flood insurance because it was required by the bank when they received a mortgage or home improvement loan.
- Don't wait until the next flood to buy flood insurance protection. In most cases, there is a 30-day waiting period before the National Flood Insurance Program coverage takes effect.
- Contact your insurance agent for more information on rates and coverage.
Ask for a licensed electrician, plumber, etc to check or turn on your power, water, and/or gas. Do not wade through flood waters due to the danger of pollutants, debris (nails, glass, etc), and animals (snakes, ants, etc). Flood waters are often murky and depth is hard to determine. Do not drive through flood waters! Turn around, don't drown! If emergency evacuation is necessary, please heed the warnings of the emergency management and follow the instructions to evacuate - it saves lives of those around you and possibly of the emergency workers responding.
If you need help after a flood, you can always call the city for help and information. Another resource that is available is the United Way of Greater Houston’s 2-1-1 Helpline. This is a free, confidential helpline that is monitored 24 hours a day, seven days a week, that helps to connect people in need with information and critical services for not only natural disasters, but for any social services such as elder care, domestic violence and basic needs, like food, utilities and health care . See www.unitedwayhouston.org for more information.