Q: Why can't the Guard sandbag around my business/home?
A: Regulations prohibit Kansas National Guard members from doing work on private property, only on public property. For example, they may clear debris from public roadways and place sandbags along public levees.
Q: What is being done to mitigate the flooding?
A: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is controlling the outflow on a number of major reservoirs in Kansas which have the capacity to store more water. This water will be gradually released to reduce the likelihood that waters will overflow embankments and levees. In addition, the Kansas Division of Emergency Management is in close contact with emergency managers in areas that face potential flooding. The Kansas National Guard is conducting roving patrols of levees in some areas to monitor water levels.
Q: Why couldn't the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have released water from upstream reservoirs earlier?
A: According to the Corps of Engineers, the water systems along the upper Missouri River were at the proper levels for the 2011 run-off season, even allowing for the above average snowfall in the mountain areas. Based on their master manual operating guidelines, there was no reason to release extra water early in the season and releasing water during the winter months would have increased the potential for flooding at that time. However, above normal spring precipitation levels in Montana, Wyoming and North Dakota altered the amount of water going into the reservoirs and river system. It is this above-average amount of rainfall that has burdened the water system, not the above-average snowfalls of last winter.
Q: If they ask us to evacuate because of rising flood waters, do I have to evacuate?
A: The state will not compel anyone to leave their property. However, if you are urged to leave, it is advisable to do so to protect your own safety and the safety of others who may have to rescue you.
Q: If I evacuate, who is going to protect my home?
A: It is advised that you lock your home when you leave. Local law enforcement will maintain security in flood areas.
Q: What do I need to do before I evacuate?
A: Go to ksready.gov for a checklist of things to do before evacuating your property, such as turning off gas and electricity, securing doors and windows and assembling an emergency kit. On the website you will also find checklists for emergency kits and items you should bring with you when you leave and other preparedness information.
Q: Are there shelters available for me and my family?
A.: The American Red Cross typically operates emergency shelters for people who have nowhere else to go. These shelters locations will be announced through local radio, newspaper, television and other media outlets.
Q: What about our pets? Do the shelters accept them?
A: Pets are not always allowed in the shelters. Plan ahead to find a place for your pet in the event that a shelter is not available. Pay attention to your local media for information on pet shelters. Information on planning for your pet's needs during a disaster is avialable from FEMA (http://fema.gov/plan/prepare/animals.shtm) or from the American Veterinary Medical Association (http://www.avma.org/disaster)
Q: My father is in the hospital/nursing home. What will happen to him?
A: Hospitals and nursing homes are required to have evacuation plans. Usually, this entails transporting patients to other facilities in nearby towns that are not likely to flood.
Q: How long will it be before I can return to my home/business?
A: This depends on several factors. Once floodwaters subside and authorities determine conditions are safe to return, residents are allowed to go back into the area. If a home or business has been flooded, health inspectors will survey the property to determine if it is safe. Once a property has been declared safe, residents may return to begin clean-up.
Q: What should I do to protect my home before the flood comes?
A: If time allows, the best thing you can do is remove as many of your personal possessions as possible and place them in a storage facility in an area that is not likely to flood.
Q: My home has never flooded before. Do I have to buy flood insurance?
A: If you live in an area that is likely to flood, it is advisable to buy flood insurance to cover any losses you may have due to flooding. Most homeowner policies do not cover flooding. Bear in mind that a flood insurance policy will not take effect until 30 days after it is purchased so existing damages will not be covered. There is an exclusion in the Flood Program policy that will not cover damages under a policy purchased during an ongoing event. The current flood event along the Missouri River began June 1, so any policy purchased after June 1 would not cover property in that area. However, flood insurance for other areas would be in effect if an event occurs 30 days after its purchase.
Q: What is covered under flood insurance for my home/business?
A: This depends on what sort of insurance you purchase, but for a homeowner or business owner, a National Flood Insurance Program policy covers physical damage to your property. This includes such things as the building and its foundation; electrical and plumbing systems; central air conditioning/heating systems, water heaters and furnaces; many major appliances such as refrigerators, cooking stoves, and built-in appliances; permanently installed carpeting over unfinished floors; debris removal and other items. Flood insurance also covers many items of personal property, such as clothing, furniture, electronic equipment, certain valuable items such as original artwork and many other items of personal property. A summary of flood insurance coverage can be found at http://www.floodsmart.gov/floodsmart/pdfs/NFIP_Summary_of_Coverage.pdf
For complete information on the National Flood Insurance Program, go to http://www.floodsmart.gov/floodsmart
Please bear in mind that flood insurance will probably not cover all of your losses, so it is better to be proactive and make arrangements to remove as much of your personal property as possible to minimize those losses from flooding.
Q: I have flood insurance. What do I need to do to make a claim?
A: Contact your agent or insurance company. They will need your policy number and a telephone or e-mail address where you can be reached at all times.
Take photographs of all damaged property, including structural damage, standing water and items that must be discarded. Make a list of damaged or lost items; include the date of purchase, value and receipts, if possible.
Your adjuster will provide a Proof of Loss form for your official damage claims. File this with your insurance company within 60 days of the flood. This is required before the National Flood Insurance Program or insurance company can make any payments.
Information about filing a claim may be found online at http://www.floodsmart.gov/floodsmart/pages/preparation_recovery/file_your_claim.jsp
Q: I don’t have flood insurance. Are there any state or federal programs that can help me?
A: If damage amounts reach a certain level, the state may qualify for federal assistance. After damage assessments are conducted, the governor may request a federal disaster declaration. If granted, the state may receive access to Individual Assistance programs, which is assistance to individuals or families that may include loan interest loans, the Individual and Household Grant Program, veterans benefits, tax refunds, temporary housing assistance, and more. There may also be state, local and volunteer agencies that can assist you.
Q: I heard that Kansas is getting federal money for Public Assistance. I’m a member of the public. How can I apply for some of the money?
A: Public Assistance refers to federal funds given to county governments to help repair damage to vital infrastructure such as roads and bridges. Private citizens do not receive money from Public Assistance programs. However, if the state meets eligibility thresholds, Individual Assistance programs may be activated.
Q: I want to volunteer, who do I need to call?
A: Call 2-1-1 (United Way) to get information on volunteer opportunities or contact your local American Red Cross, Salvation Army chapter or other organization that is active in disasters.
Q: I have some clothing I would like to send to flood victims. Who can I send them to?
A: It is generally preferable to assist disaster victims by giving monetary donations to organizations such as the American Red Cross or the United Way. Physical items such as clothing must be sorted and stored until they can be distributed. Often there isn’t the manpower available or space to store the items. There is also the matter of matching sizes and needs to individuals. These problems also apply to food, toiletries and other perishable items.
Giving money allows the agencies named above to purchase exactly what is required to best assist people meet their needs.
Go to ksready.gov (http://www.aidmatrixnetwork.org/scmpublicportal/states.aspx?ST=Kansas) to donate to Kansas citizens affected by disasters. You may designate an organization to receive your donation.