When Los Angeles floods, will you be ready?

As crazy as it seems, Los Angeles is facing some serious rainfall this winter. Although the holidays have just begun, residents are already being slammed by heavy seasonal weather, forcing road closures and flooding in Malibu and panic in Glendora and other burn areas. While all this rain may be good news for drought-stricken California, it spells disaster for homeowners who have to abandon their belongings due to excess runoff.

While Ritz Plumbing typically specializes in flooded bathrooms and yards, we can appreciate the general ways in which water may damage your home. As a plumber Santa Monica can count on, we want to help in any way we can. As such, here are some tips to keep in mind as our city readies for potentially destructive winter weather.

Appliances and furniture

If water makes its way inside, you need to be ready. If you fear that your home may be in the path of rushing water, take the proper precautions with your appliances and furniture. Generally, it’s a good idea to elevate your couches, sofas, TVs, etc at least a foot above the projected flooding area. The same rule applies to your major appliances. While it’s no easy task, you should lift items like washing machines and water heaters off the ground using bricks or cement blocks.

Flood insurance

Many insurance companies do offer flood coverage as part of their plans. It can help you recoup losses due to unexpected, intrusive water flow. However, the catch is you can’t just make a phone call and instantly enact insurance coverage. Typically, most providers make you wait 30 days before the protection goes into effect. If you don’t have it now, consider getting it as we head into what promises to be a wet winter, especially you live in sloped areas like the Santa Monica Mountains, or even at the bottom of the Hollywood Hills.

Outdoor protection

First, the bad news. When it comes to protecting your home from the outside, you don’t have very many options. Elevate or carry inside anything you don’t want to wash away. Now for the good news – sandbags can be very effective in keeping water from entering your house. And the best part? They’re totally free. Just visit your local fire station and request them. If they don’t come already filled with sand, and if you don’t happen to live near The Pacific Ocean, you can alternately fill them with soil. Just place them flap-side down around the perimeter of your home, stacking them as high as you think is necessary.

Seek higher ground

If your home does flood unexpectedly and you haven’t evacuated, seek higher elevation as fast as possible. Running to an upper story or even the attic is a good plan. If you have a single-story home and can access it, the roof might also be an option. But be careful. Don’t attempt to climb it if you’re unable. Experts also emphasize that you should never try to drive or wade through rushing water. It can be extremely dangerous.