Every Iowan longs for the refreshing spring air, warmer temperatures and ability to enjoy the outdoors again after a long winter. The bloom of spring is one of the best times of the year, but it typically comes with significant moisture. Rapidly melting snow and a consistent stretch of rain leads to elevated river levels. Iowa suffered significant flooding from the Missouri River and the Mississippi River in 2019.

In addition to runoff and extra precipitation, the ground needs time to thaw. Outdoor temperatures above freezing do not eliminate the ground freeze right away. The soil will take several weeks to heat up. When the soil is still frozen, water will not absorb into the soil as easily, and the threat of flooding is increased. The frozen ground congests the natural drainage systems, forcing the water to remain at higher levels. 

It is important to be prepared to protect your home from flooding concerns as we move toward the spring season in Iowa. 

Flood Prevention For Homeowners And Businesses

There are a few simple steps you can take to assist in preventing a flash flood from working its way into your home or business. Significant river flooding is hardly preventable and requires an emergency response plan. 

Know What Your Insurance Covers

Homeowner’s and renter’s insurance does not cover flooding. Some insurance policies may cover sump pump failure. Work with your insurance agent to determine if you are in a flood zone, and what steps you should take to get flood insurance coverage.

Test Your Sump Pump

A functioning sump pump is essential to keeping water away from the foundation and out of your home or business. Be sure the sump pump is plugged in and that the breaker is not switched off or tripped.

Find the drain pipe outside and be sure it is not clogged with debris. Clear any nearby objects that could cause the pipe to become clogged. The pipe should always direct water away from the foundation.

Fill the sump pump pit with water until the float triggers the pump to drain the water.

It is a good idea to install a battery backup on your sump pump in the event of an electrical outage, which is not uncommon during a heavy storm. 

Determine The High And Low Spots On Your Property

Directing water away from your home plays a big part in reducing the likelihood of water finding a path indoors. Scope out your property and determine if there are any low-lying areas. Add landscaping or fill dirt to create a slope away from the building.

Protect Important Documents

Keep your personal, financial, medical, and other important documents in a fireproof and waterproof lock box. You may even consider keeping copies of these documents in a secure location outside of your home such as a lock box at your bank. 

Create An Emergency Response Plan

It is always better to respond to an emergency as opposed to reacting to one. Responding requires having a plan in place. It is important to establish a plan for how you will handle important documents, having emergency supplies available, and the route you will take to safety.

Establish An Evacuation Route

Establishing an exit route is particularly important for a business. All employees should be aware of the best escape route from the building. When a flood hits, you need to be prepared to act quickly. We’re talking minutes. Especially for those who live or work near a river. 

In addition to having an exit plan from the building, you should know exactly where you’re going from there. Plan out the best driving route that will get you away from the flooding and to higher ground. 

Create An Emergency Kit

You may be tempted to think that having an emergency kit prepared is overkill. You’ll be glad you took the time to prepare if you ever find yourself in a disaster situation.

A kit should include the essentials of food, water, flashlights, a battery-powered radio, extra batteries, and blankets. Don’t neglect the basic first aid elements of bandages, gauze, rubbing alcohol, and antibiotic ointment. You will need the survival basics in the event that you do become stranded.

Emergency Contacts

You should know who you need to contact once you have safely evacuated the building and are in an established location away from flooding dangers. Your emergency contact list should include first responders, family, and friends.

Businesses should include the best contact information to reach customers, distributors, and suppliers so they are aware of the issue at hand and coordinate business activities accordingly.

Backup Your Data

There is never a bad time to backup your data. This ought to be a common practice for businesses. Companies should be sure their internal IT team has data backup systems in place or consult data storage professionals to establish a plan.

Emergency Response With ServiceMaster by Rice

You are moving toward safety and protection by following these checklist items. You’re going to need some help if a major flood crashes into your home or business. The professionals at ServiceMaster by Rice have over 60 years of helping people get back on their feet after tragedy hits. Our disaster restoration experts are IICRC certified and are always ready to play a part in getting your life back to normal. 

We have offices across the state of Iowa and southern Minnesota ready to handle commercial or residential restoration. Businesses can enroll in our Priority Response Program to be sure your business is taken care of right away. Our line is open to assist you with any disaster restoration needs.