Is your farm ready for flood season?
Be prepared. Hurricane season is here.
Hurricane season has already begun, and there are things you can do NOW in order to prepare for possible flooding. It’s very important to make sure not only is your family prepared, but your farm, business, and employees are prepared as well. Below are some tips to help guide you in the right direction!
Before you make any other preparations, looking into flood insurance should be first on your list. Why?
- FACT: Most farm policies don’t cover flood damage, so double-check your policy. A flood insurance policy may be appropriate, and be sure to act before the storm since a flood policy takes 30 days to go into effect from application to payment.
- FACT: Floods are the nation’s most common and costly natural disaster and cause millions of dollars in damage every year.
- FACT: Floods can happen anywhere–More than 20 percent of flood claims come from properties outside the high risk flood zone.
- FACT: Flood insurance can pay regardless of whether or not there is a Presidential Disaster Declaration.
- FACT: Most federal disaster assistance comes in the form of low-interest disaster loans from U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and you have to pay them back. FEMA offers disaster grants that don’t need to be paid back, but this amount is often much less than what is needed to recover. A claim against your flood insurance policy could and often does, provide more funds for recovery than those you could qualify for from FEMA or the SBA–and you don’t have to pay it back.
How can you prepare your farm?
- Warning signals for disasters in the area
- Emergency broadcast sources
- Farm site map with buildings and structures, access routes, barriers, livestock location, hazardous substances location, electric, gas, and water shutoff locations.
- Farm inventory
- Emergency phone number list
- Know your local emergency managers, including the sheriff and animal control officer. They are in charge during a disaster.
- Charge cell phone batteries and have extra batteries for radios.
- Monitor local weather reports for up-to-the-minute storm information.
- Prepare your household by creating an emergency kit with flashlights, batteries, drinking water for humans and pets, medications, emergency numbers, first aid kit, dust masks and a supply of food to last 3 or 4 days.
- Make sure important documents like deeds and insurance paperwork are stored in a safe, dry place. It’s a good idea to keep 3 copies of each document. Store them in two formats (such as paper and digital) and one copy should be kept at a different physical location.
- If evacuation is needed and you encounter flooded roads at any point, remember: Turn around, don’t drown.
- Make sure your gutters and downspouts are clear of debris and directing water away from your home. Remember to replace or reposition downspout extensions each time you mow. It’s important to keep excess water away from your foundation.
- Store or secure items or equipment that may blow away or become dangerous projectiles.
- Inspect all barns, outbuildings and other structures for broken or weak components and make repairs before the storm hits.
- Stock up on nails, screws, and plywood to board up windows and nail doors and windows shut.
- If your operation uses vent fans, water pumps, milking machines or other critical electrical equipment, purchase a gas-powered generator and plenty of fuel.
- If strong winds knock down trees, make farm lanes and houses accessible to delivery vehicles as soon as it is safe to do so.
- Coordinate with neighbors before the storm to discuss what resources can be shared in the event of power outages or flooding.
- In a flood situation, there’s often not enough time or space to evacuate all your pets and livestock, so have a plan in place.
- Stock up on food and water as well as feed and supplies for livestock supplies so that you are self-sustainable for at least three days.
- Secure livestock and other animals. If necessary, build berms for them to stand on in low-lying areas.
- Ensure a source of clean water is available so livestock will not have to drink flood water.
- Store fertilizers, pesticides, treated seeds, and other such compounds up high and away from floodwaters and animals.
- Mark animals with an identifier so they can be returned if lost. This can include ear tags with the name of the farm and/or phone numbers, brands, paint markings on hooves or coat, or clipped initials in the hair.
- Make sure your horse’s vaccinations for tetanus and the encephalitis viruses (Eastern Equine Encephalitis and West Nile Virus) are current, and make sure that your horse has multiple forms of identification. Coastal residents should consider evacuating horses to a sufficient distance from the coast and out of a storm’s path.
- If you have a reason to believe your current Flood insurance policy is out of date due to recent changes.
- If you are even thinking about flood insurance. We can provide information and tools for you to make a decision.
- If you have a business and do not currently carry flood insurance