Flooding events are our nation’s most costly natural disasters. It seems that almost every month there is another severe flood affecting the continental United States. People are displaced from their homes, electrical systems are inoperable, wastewater treatment facilities cease to function, businesses are shuttered and critical services (police, fire, hospitals) are severely impacted.
To date, our national response has been focused on a “reactive” approach; flood insurance, direct assistance payments through government grants and loans, buyouts of properties in flood prone areas. What if we could do better? What if we could protect properties from overland flooding, rather than react after the fact? What if we could save people’s possessions and preserve their financial well-being?
The answer is flood protection. Today, there are a number of flood protection systems that can protect areas from the effects of overland flooding. Some are permanent systems that self-deploy as the flood waters rise. Others are temporary structures that are put in place when the threat of overland flooding becomes evident. All have positives and negatives; price, usage limitations and/or vulnerabilities. However, they all do one thing that reaction based support cannot do; they allow utility providers, municipalities, EMS, businesses and homeowners the ability to protect and retain their assets.
A recent study of European nations found that for every euro invested in flood protection, four euros were saved when a flooding event occurred. For U.S. taxpayers, who currently provide over $30 billion/year in flood assistance, this could mean large savings over time.
Hurricanes Harvey and Irma alone have estimated costs of over $100 billion each. It is impossible for us, as citizens, to continue providing “reactive” assistance at even a fraction of the levels needed just to provide for the repair of basic structural and mechanical damages; say nothing of the loss of all personal possessions of those who have been direct victims of the flood waters and the loss of economic activity for businesses.
It’s time that we make the transition from a “reaction” bases approach to a “protection” based approach. Flood protection is the answer.
For more information on how to protect your facility from flooding, feel free to contact Jeff at firstname.lastname@example.org. Jeff Thieding is the Managing Partner of T3 Investments and the Inventor of the Rapid Guard Flood Barrier System.