If you live in a flood zone, you are no stranger to storm preparation. New Jersey has recently re-examined what it considers flood zone areas, and has put into place new laws and regulations for homeowners in those areas. For many people, this has meant hiring a commercial or residential contractor to raise their businesses and homes in order to meet code. For others, it has meant purchasing flood insurance.
Regardless of where your home is situated, there are a few steps you can take to protect yourself from the hurricane season:
- Plan ahead. Make sure you have emergency supplies in the house in case of rising waters. If you live in a flood zone, reinforce your garage doors, clean out your gutters, secure your windows and keep your landscaping trimmed to avoid unnecessary damage.
- Anchor or raise your possessions. When possible, raise up anything that runs on electricity: that includes outlets, washers, dryers, furnaces and heaters. If you cannot raise your appliances, make sure they are anchored securely to the ground and protected with flood guards. Speak with a residential contractor about installing these safety measures, to ensure that they are put in place correctly.
- Look up your elevation. If you are unsure whether or not you live in a flood zone, call the township and ask. It will be worth your while to purchase additional insurance even if you are not required to do so.
- Consider lifting your home. Raising a house is a big decision, but one worth considering if you live near water. Putting the time and money in before hurricane season to lift your home may protect you better during a storm. Make sure to really research residential contractors in your area, so that you choose the best one for your needs.
What You Should Know About Choosing a Residential Contractor
Raising a house or business is a serious decision. If you live or work in a flood zone, however, this is the best prevention decision you could make. Before choosing a commercial or residential contractor, make sure to examine:
- The company’s licenses and certifications.
- The years of experience – not just the amount of time the company has existed.
- The size of the company, to ensure that there will be enough man power to complete the job in a timely manner.
- Reviews online as well as reviews from neighbors and friends. Check for a Better Business Bureau rating, too.
- Photo galleries, if applicable, to see examples of the contractor’s work.
The single most important thing you can do when preparing for storm season is keep yourself and your loved ones safe. Making home modifications with the help of a residential contractor could be the difference between safety and disaster. If raising a house is out of the question right now, purchase flood insurance. Whether you live in a flood zone or not, it’s always better to prepare for the worst than be caught unprepared later.