Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Mitigation can save lives, property, money and lots of hassle!

Mitigation is one of those words people throw around expecting everyone to understand what it means. Though the word may not be common, it is very important. Here’s the definition.

“Mitigation” is any sustained action taken to reduce or eliminate long-term risk to people and property from natural hazards and their effects. This means taking steps to reduce damage from future hazards, like flooding.

Oregonians who need to make repairs or rebuild as a result of the December and January storms have a responsibility to themselves, their families and their neighbors to rebuild in a way that reduces future flood losses. It’s safer, cheaper, and much easier to limit future destruction than to repair it afterward and the rebuilding phase of a disaster is the ideal time to consider ways to limit future damage.

Mitigation steps that can be taken to protect homeowners from suffering repetitive loss include rebuilding with materials less likely to be damaged by water and raising utility connections and electrical outlets. Owners should avoid building in a flood plain unless they elevate and reinforce the structure and/or seal walls in basements with waterproofing compounds to avoid seepage through cracks.

Not only does mitigation save lives and property, it also may qualify you for lower-cost flood insurance. Contact your insurance agents for premium rates, and check with your local planning department or online to find ways to mitigate.

More information about mitigation strategies to reduce flood risk can be found at www.fema.gov.