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Wadena County official: follow this flood preparation checklist

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Scott McKellep, director of emergency management for Wadena County, reminded Wadena County residents this week that flood potential is high this year.

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Because of ground saturation, and increased snow accumulation, even those residents not near a body of water may be at risk, McKellep said. If an early, speedy thaw takes place, the likelihood that you will experience water damage is increased. In only takes a couple of inches of water in a basement to cause thousands of dollars in damage. Water can cause sustained damage over a period of many days.

Some steps that will help in reducing damage or help in recovery are:

1. Create a personal file with copies of insurance policies, agents contact information, and all other valuable documents. This file should be kept in a safe, watertight place.

2. Conduct, a household inventory. Document with photos, video, and keep receipts of higher value property.

3. Make sure that your sump pump is in working order, and it is best to have a backup power supply for it.

4. Anchor all fuel tanks

5. Raise electrical components (switches, sockets, circuit breakers) at least 12 inches off the floor.

6. Place water heaters, furnaces, washer and dryers on cement blocks at least 12 inches above any projected flood elevation.

7. Develop a family emergency plan, and include pet needs.

McKellep noted that 20-25 percent of all flood claims are from low- to moderate-risk areas. Flood insurance is available to purchase from your insurance agent. Average homeowners insurance does not cover flooding. Flood insurance needs to be in place a minimum of 30 days prior to any flooding to be in effect. FEMA is encouraging the purchase of flood insurance now.

In Minnesota, flooding is the number one cause of disaster damage.

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