October declared as Flood Awareness Month

Officials are urging residents to prepare now for potential flood emergencies in the coming months.

In the wake of the flood damage in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico, King County Executive Dow Constantine and the King County Flood Control District Chair Reagan Dunn declared October as Flood Awareness Month, and urged residents to prepare now for potential flood emergencies in the coming months.

“More Americans die each year from flooding than any other natural disaster,” said Constantine in a press release. “It’s important to prepare for flooding now through basic steps such as assembling emergency preparedness kits and signing up for King County Flood Alerts.”

“I would encourage anyone living in a flood plain to start thinking ahead about how you can prepare for this upcoming flood season,” said Dunn in the release. “With all the resources King County provides it’s easier than ever to be well informed about how to best protect your home, business, or property from flood damage.”

“We are seeing devastating flooding across the country with alarming frequency,” said King County Councilmember Dave Upthegrove, Vice Chair of the King County Flood Control District. “It is important that we raise awareness with King County residents so they can better protect their families, businesses and property from floods.”

The release included suggestion on how families can prepare for a potential flooding, including assembling a basic emergency preparedness kit for the home, with items such as a flashlight with spare batteries, a portable radio, non-perishable food, drinking water, extra clothes, cell phone chargers and books or games for kids. For more information about emergency kits at www.takewinterbystorm.org.

Additional preparations for flood season include:

  • Buying flood insurance now. It takes 30 days for a policy to take effect, and a standard insurance policy will not cover flood damage. Contact your insurance agent or visit floodsmart.gov.
  • Monitoring local media for information when severe weather is predicted. Listen for alerts about evacuation routes, and monitor local road conditions and obey closure signs.
  • Minimizing flood damage by storing valuables and electronics higher, and by moving vehicles and equipment to high ground before flood waters rise.
  • Disposing of hazardous chemicals, such as lawn and gardening herbicides, at one of the county’s household hazardous waste sites to help reduce harmful contaminates in flood waters. Learn more at kingcounty.gov/hazwaste.

When flooding is imminent, King County employees gather, analyze and distribute flood warning information so that residents, businesses, property owners and emergency responders can make important public safety and economic decisions.

Once rivers rise to designated thresholds, King County’s Flood Warning Center opens to monitor river gages, weather data, dam operations and road closures, 24 hours a day until the flood threat has passed.

County employees head into the field at designated flood levels to address safety concerns, such as flooded roadways, and to check on flood control facilities.

When the Flood Warning Center is open, citizens can speak directly to King County employees 24 hours a day by calling 206-296-8200 or 1-800-945-9263. Interpreter services are available.

Questions or assistance with flooding on smaller streams or urban drainage problems can be called in to 206-477-4811 during business hours or 206-477-8100 after hours or on weekends.

Efforts to protect people and property have earned King County a high from the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Community Rating System (CRS). King County’s high CRS rating is saving policyholders in unincorporated King County more than $1 million in flood insurance premiums – an average of $425 per policy.

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