Governor Brian Kemp has declared September as National Preparedness Month in Georgia, and throughout the month, the Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency (GEMA/HS) is encouraging all Georgians to take steps to ensure they’re prepared for natural or man-made disasters. The theme for the month is “Prepared not Scared,” and while there are many types of natural disasters that can potentially impact the state there is one that is more prevalent than others – flooding.
In the past 23 years, all but one of Georgia’s 159 counties were impacted by flooding. In many cases flooding occurred in areas where it was previously unheard of, and unfortunately for some, that meant they didn’t have flood insurance.
“Many people think that homeowners insurance will cover flood damage, but in most instances that’s just not the case,” said GEMA/HS Director Homer Bryson. “Flood insurance is as an important part of being prepared, because whether it’s from a hurricane, severe storms or just a long period of rain, flooding has the potential to impact every Georgian, as we’ve seen over the years.”
We are entering the height of hurricane season, and while hurricanes are categorized on a scale of one through five based upon their wind speeds, the real danger lies in the storm surge and amount of rainfall. Even minor flooding can cause tens of thousands of dollars in damage to a home. An inch of floodwater in a house on average causes $25,000 in damage.
“We saw significant damage from storm surge and flooding across Georgia during Hurricanes Matthew and Irma,” said Bryson. “Combined with the wind, the effects were devastating to Georgians.”
Throughout September, the Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency’s (GEMA/HS) Ready Georgia campaign is encouraging all Georgia residents to begin planning now for disasters by developing their emergency plans for both their families and communities and obtaining or reviewing homeowner’s, renters and flood insurance policies. The Ready Georgia page of the GEMA/HS website at gema.georgia.gov offers tools to assist people in creating these plans, and specifically addresses insurance planning. The National Flood Insurance Program website is another great resource for flood insurance information. Taking a single action each week puts you one step closer to being fully prepared for any emergency, making you, your family and your community more resilient.