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Virginians urged to protect property from flooding

Flooding is the most common and costly natural disaster.

With spring rains — followed by hurricane season — rapidly approaching, flood preparedness should be a priority for Virginia’s homeowners, renters and business owners.

“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 the state’s flood-protection activities and helps communities benefit from the National Flood Insurance Program, which allows residents of nearly 90% of Virginia’s communities to buy 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.

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Virginians can learn about their property’s flood risk by keying their address into the Virginia Flood Risk Information System.

Even a “small” flood can be catastrophic. FEMA and the National Flood Insurance Program estimate that just 1 inch of water in a home can cause more than $25,000 in damages.

Therefore, flood insurance is, by far, the most effective way to protect homes and property.

Standard homeowners and renters insurance policies don’t cover property damage from floods.

Yet 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.”

There are additional ways renters, homeowners and business owners can reduce potential flood damage to some, but not all, of their property. These 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 www.dcr.virginia.gov/floodawarenessweek.

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