Protect yourself and property

Floods are one of the most common natural disasters in the U.S.

Flood waters can be dangerously deceptive. While appearing serene and calm on the top, a fast flowing stream of water may rage underneath and have enough power to knock down a child or adult, and even push vehicles off a roadway.

Take precautions to protect yourself when confronted with flood waters.

Do not walk through flowing water - Drowning is the number one cause of death during flash floods. Currents can be deceptive; six inches of moving water can knock you off your feet.Flooding Indian Creek at Foxhill North Park

Turn Around, Don't Drown - More people drown in their cars than anywhere else. Don't drive through flood waters. As little as 12 inches of rapidly moving water can wash a vehicle off the road.

Stay away from power lines and electrical wires - The number two flood killer after drowning is electrocution. Stay out of flooded basements. Water may be energized due to contact with a house electrical panel or other source.

Making Repairs - If your home has been flooded, the city and your insurance agent need to inspect your property to document damage before repairs are made. Keep in mind that a Floodplain Development Permit or building permit may be required. Red Cross' "Repairing your Flooded Home" contains extensive advice on how to make repairs to flood damaged buildings.

If your property is in a floodplain, here are some tips:

• Purchase flood insurance. Most homeowners insurances don't offer flood insurance as part of a basic policy. Contact your insurance agent or Floodsmart.gov for more information.

• Elevate your furnace, water heater and electric panel in your home. Also, elevate exterior air conditioning unit.

• Consider having "check valves" installed to prevent flood water or sanitary sewer flows from backing up into the drains of your home.

• Don't finish your basement. If you do, use flood resistant materials.

• Don't build in the floodplain. When feasible, locate new buildings outside of the floodplain. Keep in mind that grading, filling, new building construction, and other types of work in the floodplain requires a Floodplain Development Permit. When it’s not possible to build outside of a floodplain, it will need to be properly elevated and your mortgage company will require flood insurance.

• In certain cases, you may want to consider elevating or relocating your home above or out of the floodplain. If your home is substantially damaged for any reason (flooding, wind, fire, etc.), your flood insurance policy may include "Increased Cost of Compliance" coverage to help offset these costs.

Keep in mind that most modifications to your home will require a permit. Contact the Engineer of the Day at 913-895-6223 or eod@opkansas.org for more information.