While California is celebrated for its beautiful landscapes, it also experiences its fair share of weather-related challenges. The California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) continues to remind all Californians across the Golden State to be proactive in preparing your home and neighborhood for a potential heavy sustained rainfall. There are several ways you can proactively prepare your home and street for a heavy storm season including: elevating and anchoring valuable property, clearing debris out of drains, gutters and off surrounding areas, securing sandbags from local government and protecting flood-vulnerable parts around your home.
BE AWARE of Your Risk
Know whether your home is in an area susceptible to flooding or other hazards (earthquake, fire, flood, tsunami) by visiting the website MyHazards by Cal OES. Knowing about hazards in your area can help you and your community to create a street-front and home defense against severe winter storms. Pay attention to weather forecasts. Listen to local authorities.
Prepare Your Home
- Elevate and Anchor: Move and anchor furniture and valuables to a safe place, such as an attic or the highest floor of your home.
- Dispose of Debris Properly: Make sure you clear any leaves/debris from gutters, downspouts and storm drains to avoid clogged drains which could lead to flooding. Clear any snow or ice away from the foundation of your house. Dispose of debris properly by using the proper green waste bins.
- Secure Sandbags: Sandbags are often provided by your local government. Contact your city, county, fire department or public works to find out where you can get sandbags in your area.
- Photograph your Property: Take photos and videos of all major household items and valuables. Retain these documents in a safe place because they are important when filing insurance claims.
- Maintain Proper Water Runoff: Stormwater should always drain away from the home. Identify potential areas of water buildup on your property – easy to identify during an average rainstorm – and then take steps to protect your home. This may include building up any sunken areas around the foundation and improving your yard so that any water slopes away from your home.
- Protect Spaces: Consider purchasing a sump pump which can be installed in low areas in your home at risk for flooding such as crawl spaces or basements. A sump pump is a device that automatically moves built-up water from a low space in your home (typically a crawl space) and diverts the water to a designated drainage area.
- Check-in with Neighbors: Think about neighbors on your street that may need help during a disaster. Discuss emergency preparedness plans to ensure everyone’s safety.