If you live in south Florida, here are a couple of suggestions to strengthen your home's resilience in the face of flooding and the state's fragile power distribution system.
Having moved to south Florida a couple of months back, I have been thoroughly enjoying the climate and all the great things you can do if you're close to the bathtub-warm Atlantic Ocean. But there there area couple of annoying things you need to get used to. And no, I'm not talking about hurricanes.Florida hasn't experienced one of those for a decade or so now. I realize I'm tempting fate here.
What I am referring to are the frequency of torrential downpours and the wobbly electrical supply.Just last week I was on the I-95 just north of Miami when the heavens opened. For me it was an unnerving experience. Suddenly I couldn't see a thing through the windscreen because the wipers couldn't cope with the volume of water. And then the car's steering began to feel very light. I assume this sensation meant I was aquaplaning already.
Shaken up, I managed to get home safely only to find the streets in my community awash and the drainage lake or "retention pond" at the bottom of my garden creeping towards my patio. It was then I remembered I had recently taken out flood insurance on my home. Relief replaced dread. At 40 dollars a month, the coverage is worth every penny I think. It wouldn't have saved me from the consequences of crashing off the Interstate but it certainly would have paid for the replacement of the hardwood floors which had recently cost me a ridiculous amount of money to have installed in my living room. Thankfully for me, it didn't come to that. The inundation didn't happen.
The point I'm making is that given the frequency of tropical downpours in this part of the world and the thousands of sometimes woefully inadequate drainage lakes that characterize most of the residential communities in south Florida, it makes sense to take out flood insurance. If all this sounds like an advertisement for the insurance industry, so be it.
The other thing that makes a lot of sense as a homeowner in South Florida is to have a surge protection unit installed in your home. Smaller than a shoe box, these devices absorb power surges and can save you the thousands of dollars it would cost to replace your expensive flat-screen and electrical kitchen equipment which have just been "fried" by the sudden restoration of full current following a power outage.
These blackouts happen way too often in my neck of the woods. My friendly electrician tells me these occurrences are due to lack of investment in the state's electric power infrastructure. Sadly, this is a problem that is widespread across the U.S. and one to which Swiss Re has often drawn attention. So having experienced these wobbles and outages in my own home, I decided to have one such surge protection gizmo installed. With labor, the whole thing came to about 300 dollars. Basically, what I'm saying is that if the public sector is unwilling or unable to take measures to strengthen a community's resilience, you have to help yourself the best way you can.
Category: Climate/natural disasters: Floods/storms