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Owen emergency manager urges public to be prepared

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By The Staff

Rick Morgan, Owen County emergency management director, would like to remind residents that a flood can happen to your home even if you are not near a river or creek. Floods can happen anywhere, throughout the year, and are more common than you might think.

Some of the information we have learned during the 2010 flood are: Where it can rain it can flood. Floods are consistently the most common, costly and deadly natural disaster Americans face each year – 90 percent of all natural disasters in North America involve flooding.

Flooding is a major concern everywhere in the United States, but especially in most of North America in the spring. Most home owners’ insurance does not cover floods. Only flood insurance financially protects your home and your personal property from floods. Just a few inches of water can cause tens of thousands of dollars in damage, destroying homes, businesses, and wiping out personal savings should a resident not have flood insurance. Once purchased, there is typically a 30-day waiting period for the policy to become effective. You can purchase flood insurance as long as your community participates in the National Flood Insurance Program. You are eligible for flood insurance if your house has been flooded before, and you can purchase it even if your mortgage doesn’t require it.

Sometime in the fall of 2010, new flood maps for Owen County will be available from the federal government. They can be viewed over the Internet. People should contact their insurance agent, visit FloodSmart.gov and/or call (888) 379-9531, the Flood Smart call center, to learn how they can protect their home and property from floods, including buying flood insurance.

To contact FEMA for assistance, you can call (800) 621-3362. Handouts can be obtained from the Owen County Courthouse, Monterey Market, Owen County Public Library and Larry House, Monterey Fire Chief.

Please have a “72-hour kit” for home, business and vehicle and think about things to put in the kit such as if there was no water or electricity. Have an “Evacuation and Meeting Plan” for evacuation from your house with where you can go or meet if you get separated from your family. Take pictures or a video of your furnishings in your home before the disaster and store them someplace safe. If you have damage in the disaster, take more pictures or videos before you clean up. Keep receipts of purchases of cleaning supplies, shelter, food, items you have to purchase to get back into your home to live.

If you are at home and there is the possibility of flooding, leave the area for higher ground. If you hear the roar of water, get to high ground. Never drive into water on the road, because the road can be eroded; inches of water can hydroplane a vehicle; you can never judge how many inches water is over the road; and even if the water has gone down, it can back up and come back over the road. It is better to be safe than sorry.

For more information on floods, preparedness kit, evacuation plan you can go to NOAA Weather, FEMA, Homeland Security, Ready.gov or KYEM and do a search for these websites on floods.