You may be in a special flood hazard area. Forty-two percent of East Baton Rouge Parish has a potential of being flooded, 70 percent of Ascension Parish, and 75 percent of Livingston Parish. The major floods that cause the most damage on the Amite and Comite rivers and their tributaries occurred in 1967, 1977, 1979, 1980, 1983, 1989, 1990,1991,1995, 2001 and 2005. Find out if your property is in the regulated flood plain by calling your city’s flood plain management office.

Here are some things you can do to protect your family and property from flooding:

Buy flood insurance. Even if you’re not in the mapped flood plain, you may be subject to local drainage flooding. In either case, flood insurance can be a good investment because homeowners’ insurance policies do not cover damage from flooding. Don’t wait for the next flood.

Do not walk or drive through floodwaters. Currents are deceptive; six inches of moving water can knock you off your feet. Do not drive around barriers because the road or bridge may be washed out.

Preparing for an emergency can reduce the possibility of personal injury, loss of life and damage to property. Know your flood warning signals, create an emergency plan and prepare a disaster supply kit. To find out more information on flood warnings and emergency preparedness, contact your local Emergency Preparedness Office.

You can protect your home or business from drainage and flooding problems by modifying your building to minimize flood damage. Where flooding is shallow, measures such as small flood walls, regrading the yard and flood-proofing the wall or utilities can be relatively inexpensive. Where flooding is deep, you may need to elevate your building. For information on flood-proofing your building there are publications in the public libraries or you can call at the city’s flood plain management office.

Check with the building department before you build, alter, regrade or fill your property. A permit is required for any type of development including new construction, substantial improvements, placement of fill, paving or excavation to ensure that a project is compliant with all regulations. These regulations are designed to protect your property from flood damage and to make sure you don’t cause a drainage problem for neighbors. To find out how to get a permit, contact your permit office. Also, elevation certificates for newly built structures are available at your permit office.

Don’t pour oil, grease, pesticides or other pollutants down storm drains or into the ditches and streams. The streams and wetlands help moderate flooding and are habitat for fish and other wildlife that provide recreation or food.

The city has an ordinance that makes it illegal to dump debris in streams, channels and drainage systems. You must use storm water protection/erosion control when building, keeping building debris and pollutants out of the storm drains. The city also has a drainage maintenance program that can remove blockage from a drainage ditch or stream, such as downed trees and branches. To report problems, call the Department of Public Works.

Check before you buy. Before you commit yourself to buying property, do the following:

Ask the real estate agent or your city flood plain management office if it is in the flood zone and requires flood insurance; ask the seller or neighbors if it has ever flooded or if it is subject to other hazards such as sewer backups or subsidence.

Talk to the building department about the building and zoning regulations. In accordance with city Ordinance 7210, every transfer of land or building is required to provide a flood hazard disclosure statement to prospective buyers.

Source: City-Parish of East Baton Rouge