Flooding in Dayton and the Community
Historically, the community has experienced numerous flood events, sustaining millions of dollars in damages. While some of these damages are not preventable given the unpredictable nature of flood behavior and the ever-changing global climate, the City recognizes the importance of providing educational resources to assist in mitigating for flood damages. Within the City of Dayton there exists known and unknown flood hazards, including those that are identified within the FEMA Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRM's). While it is impossible to mitigate for all flood risks, the City encourages all residents, including those not within a designated floodplain, to review and understand the below information.
Before the Flood
A flood is defined as the overflowing of water onto lands that are normally dry. Floods can occur rapidly or build up over time. Historically, our local flood events have been caused by increased rainfall and/or excessive snow melt in the Blue Mountains. Flood events cause extreme damages to both public and private properties and can cost thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars to restore. Preparation for a potential disaster should be implemented in all households. The following are recommendations to consider implementing within your household to aid in your ability to be best prepared. This is not an all-inclusive list to what someone could do to protect themselves and their properties from a flood event.
- Understand your Risk. Review the FEMA FIRM maps to understand your flood risk, and consider consulting with the City's Floodplain Manager for more information. Know your zone - know your risk.
- Sand bags. Sand bags are utilized as an emergency response measure to create a barrier between the identified property/infrastructure from incoming high waters. Sand bags can be quite effective when utilized correctly. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has published guidance on how-to properly utilize sand bags. It is recommended that sand bags be stored in an easily accessible water-tight location to limit response time and to ensure the bags remain protected. Sand bags should be examined annually and replaced as necessary. And did you know? National Flood Insurance Policyholders are eligible for reimbursement for certain actions that will assist in limiting damages to your home during a flood event. See the following infographic for more information, and contact your policy agent for more information.
- Household Emergency Plan. It is recommended that each household have an emergency flood response plan, similar to a fire escape plan. Planning now may help families respond better together, and will ensure all members know where to go, what to do, and how to do it.
- Build a "Go Kit". Keep supplies prepared in the event of an emergency, including a first aid kit, non-perishable foods, local maps, flashlights, etc. A Go Kit should be assembled in airtight containers and stored in an accessible location. The intent of the Go Kit is to quickly grab and go quickly to get out of the way of the flood.
- Purchase Flood Insurance. Flood insurance is available for all properties - regardless of known flood risk. Flooding can happen anywhere at anytime - it doesn't affect just those adjacent to water sources. Protect your family and your assets today.
- Sign up for Emergency Notifications. Columbia County utilizes an emergency notification system called "Code Red". This offers an effective method for transmitting emergency notifications to residents before and during an emergency situation, including natural disasters. Enroll online today.
During the Flood
Grab and go! The safety of our community and its members is the number one priority of the City. Grab your Go Kit and follow the steps in your emergency plan as quickly as possible. Evacuate immediately if you are directed to do so. Do no travel through flood waters or travel around barricades. Running flood waters can pose unknown safety concerns, and barricades are placed on purpose by local officials. Avoid driving over bridges where water is moving quickly - structural damages can occur quickly during a flood event. Stay up-to-date through the Code Red notification system and by reviewing this website for updated News & Announcements during the event. Additionally, City Hall will be staffed at all times during an event and can be called for information if necessary. Stay Dry, Stay Safe, and Wait it Out.
After the Flood
Returning home after a flood can be very difficult. The following are recommendations on steps to take post-flood.
- Document EVERYTHING. And we mean everything - literally. Take photos of the yards, exterior damages, debris on the property, wet carpet, etc. It is critical to take photos PRIOR to beginning clean up or restoration efforts. Flood insurance claims will require documentation and it's much better to have more than necessary than not enough. You need to be able substantiate your flood damage claims adequately.
- Check for Structural Damage: Before entering any structure, check for obvious signs of structural damage. Contact the Building Official at 509-382-4676 to request a safety inspection if deemed necessary. Additionally, check for fallen power lines, gas leaks, and have these services disconnected by the appropriate company or professional if necessary.
- Start the Claims Process. It is of the utmost importance to begin your claim process as quickly as possible. Contact your flood insurance representative to begin the process and get clear guidance on how to proceed.
- Wear Protective Gear. When entering a house, structure, or property that was recently inundated with flood waters, it is critical to wear rubber gloves and boots to protect yourself from present contaminants. Flood water is dirty - and you need to protect your health while cleaning.
- Clean Up. Whether you and your household lead this effort or you hire it out, cleaning up after a flood should be done with intentionality and awareness. Water soaked food needs to be disposed of, wet drywall should be removed allowing the structural components ability to dry out, and some things will need to be washed and some may need to be disposed of. It is important to understand that mold can grow within 48 hours. You must work fast to decrease the loss of personal property.
- Schedule an Inspection with the Floodplain Manager. Following a flood event, the City must submit damages to FEMA to substantiate the need for Public and/or Private Assistance. Additionally, the City's participation in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) requires inspections to calculate damages sustained and offer guidance and direction to reduce future flood impacts. Properties that are known to have been flooded will be "tagged" notifying the property owner that an inspection is required. Note - this is not a structural inspection. Maybe you experienced "mild" flooding and didn't receive a notice and feel it unnecessary to report the damages? Do not withhold this information. Every dollar in damages reported counts when requesting federal aid. You may not benefit directly from the approval of financial aid, but maybe the neighbor down the road that lost their entire foundation desperately needs assistance. Additionally, one-on-one meetings with the Floodplain Manager can offer guidance and direction to better protect your property in future events. Coordinate inspections with the Floodplain Manager by contacting City Hall at 509-382-2361.
- Practice Self Care & Help your Neighbors. Surviving a flood and dealing with the aftermath is really hard. Research has shown that stress and PTSD may present in survivors following a disaster. As a City, we are right there with you and we are feeling the pain alongside you. Rely on personal relationships for support when you are feeling the weight of it all, and support your neighbors when you can. As a community, we will persevere and come out from any event stronger than before. We are all in this together and are stronger united.