SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) — With the increased snowfall this year, here’s some government-issued advice on how to prepare your household for flooding.

According to the Utah Hazard Mitigation, flooding is the most destructive natural disaster in Utah, and changes in climate will likely increase Utah’s flood risk. This can be caused by runoff from rain falling on snow, which is common with warming temperatures.

To reduce your risk, the Federal Emergency Management Agency recommends that first you should check your risk level, and insure your property. Learn more about your home’s level of flood risk on FEMA’s online Flood Map Service Center. 

FEMA has outlined these tips for mitigating the damage a flood may cause.

What precautions to take for the outside of your home?

  1. Maintain proper water runoff and drainage. They say to do this, you should routinely clean and maintain gutters, downspouts, and splash pads. This way the rainwater from the roof flows easily away from the home. And make sure drainage ditches and storm drains are clear of debris. 
  2. Check how water accumulates around your home, and if necessary change your landscaping to improve runoff. FEMA says this could include building up any sunken areas around the foundation, digging small indentations to channel water, and improving the yard to slope away from your home. 
  3. Install a rain barrel. These are usually connected to gutter downspouts to collect runoff from your roof. You can also use the water collected for non-potable uses, such as washing your car or watering your lawn.
  4. Elevate service equipment and utilities. You can raise and anchor air conditioning condensers, water meters, heat pumps, and other equipment onto pedestals or platforms at least 1 foot above potential flood elevation for your home.

What precautions to take for the inside of your home?

  1. Protect valuable possessions. Make sure important documents and other valuable items are in a safer location, above flood elevation. You can even keep the most important things inside watertight containers.
  2. Install flood vents. The floor vents, when properly installed, can prevent water pressure buildup by allowing water to flow through enclosures. 
  3. Seal your foundation and basement walls. You can close foundation cracks with hydraulic cement, or mortar and masonry caulk. You can also use waterproofing compounds to seal walls in your basement. 
  4. Prevent sewer backups. You can install drain plugs for all your basement floor drains to prevent sewer backups. You can also install sewer backflow valves for pipes entering the building. 

What should you do right before a flood to protect your home?

  1. You can activate any flood protection devices you have such as turning on sump pumps, and closing backflow valves. 
  2. You can also shut off electricity at the breaker panel. 
  3. You can also move important paperwork, furniture, rugs, electronics, and valuable belongings to the upper floors, or to a higher level of the ground floor. 
  4. Elevate major appliances, by putting them on concrete blocks.
  5. Clean gutters, downspouts, and splash pads. As well as nearby drainage ditches and storm drains. 
  6. Put up any flood barriers you have such as; portable flood gates or shields, sandbags, inflatable floodwalls, and flood skirts.