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FEMA urges Florida homeowners to take mitigation measures against hurricanes

By Staff | Feb 10, 2024

LAKE MARY, Fla. – Because of the unique location and extensive coastline, the state of Florida is frequently affected by hurricanes. As resilience starts at home, FEMA strongly encourages homeowners in Florida to take mitigation measures now to prepare you and your family against potential disasters.

Why should you consider taking mitigation measures?

Taking hazard mitigation measures may:

- Reduce your losses from natural disasters in the future.

- Increase the ability of your home to withstand severe weather, hurricane, flooding, wind or other natural hazard events.

- Lower the cost of your homeowner’s flood insurance premiums.

- Increase the value of your property.

How can you protect your home from future hurricanes?

You can take measures to protect your home against future disasters, including hurricanes, wind, flooding and storm surges.

You may:

- Elevate or floodproof heating, ventilation and air conditioning, and/or mechanical units, ductwork, electrical systems and other utilities.

- Install hurricane shutters to protect windows and glass doors.

- Reinforce garage and double-entry doors to prevent failure under wind pressure.

- Elevate your home.

o First, contact your local floodplain manager to discuss the required height to elevate your structure.

o Locally adopted Floodplain Management regulations may require structures in the Special Flood Hazard Areas to be elevated higher than Base Flood Elevation (BFE) indicated on FEMA Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMS).

o Elevation may lower your flood insurance premiums, as well as reducing the risk from future floods.

o For assistance finding and understanding your flood elevation, please send your email to FEMA FMIX@fema.dhs.gov or call 877-336-2627.

- Install flood vents in foundation walls, garages and other enclosed areas.

- Use flood-resistant materials in areas of your home below the BFE. For example, replace carpeting with tiles or use flood-resistant insulation and gypsum wallboard (Sheetrock).

- Anchor any fuel tanks to the floor. Make sure the vents and fill line openings are above the BFE. (This may require approval from your fuel provider.) Fuel tanks can tip over or float, releasing fuels in liquid or gas form creating a fire or explosion hazard.

- Install a backflow valve on your sewer system to prevent sewage back up in your home.

- Add a waterproof veneer to exterior walls to prevent damage from shallow flooding. Seal your basement walls with waterproofing compounds.

According to the FEMA Mitigation specialists, safeguarding your home doesn’t have to be costly. In addition to fortifying the structure, simple actions such as pruning oversized trees and shrubs away from your house, keeping drains and gutters clear of debris, may reduce the risk of future damage.

For the latest information on Florida’s recovery from Hurricane Idalia, visit floridadisaster.org/updates/ and fema.gov/disaster/4734. Follow FEMA on X, formerly known as Twitter, and at facebook.com/fema.

Source: FEMA