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Flood Damage Prevention

While fire may be a more common concern among homeowners, your home could in fact be as much as ten times more likely to be damaged by water than by fire.* Significant sources of water damage to one s property can come from weather-related moisture or flooding, including flooding from heavy rains, flash floods, dam and levee failures, tidal storm surges and mudflows. In addition, new construction of buildings, roads or bridges can alter the flow of water, increasing the potential for flooding.

Living in a high-risk flood zone can increase the likelihood of experiencing a flood, but being outside a high-risk zone does not mean homeowners are safe; flooding is always a possibility due to causes such as heavy rains, snowmelt and spring thaws.

Protecting Your Property Before, During and After a Flood

There are a number of things you can do to help minimize or prevent water damage to your property. Follow these tips to help prepare and recover from potentially costly flood damage.

Before the Flood:

  • Know your properties flood zone risk and evaluate your flood risk with this reference guide from IBHS.
  • Have your furnace, water heater and other permanent equipment elevated above the expected flood levels of your area.
  • Inspect sump pumps and drains regularly to ensure proper operation.
  • If you own a generator, have a licensed electrician provide a transfer switch to your sump pump so you can operate it in the event of flooding.
  • To help prevent sewage backup, have a licensed plumber install an interior or exterior backflow prevention valve.
  • Keep sandbags on hand to help divert unusually high water away from your foundation.
  • In snowy climates, flag drains to avoid plowing snow on top of them.
  • Learn the flood alert signals of your community.
  • Collect emergency building materials if you live in a frequently flooded area. These may include plywood, plastic sheeting, lumber, nails, shovels and sandbags.
  • Plan and practice an evacuation route. Designate a place for family members to meet in the event they become separated.
  • Review with all family members how to shut off utilities in an emergency.
  • Plan a survival kit with important documents, including insurance documents, medications and critical items in the event you need to leave your home.

During the Flood:

  • Listen to a battery-operated radio or television for the latest storm information. If advised to evacuate, shut off all utilities and evacuate immediately.
  • Move to high ground, avoid rising waters and do not walk or drive through any floodwaters.
  • Stay away from downed power lines and electrical wires.

After the Flood:

  • Listen to the radio and do not return home until authorities indicate it is safe to do so.
  • Once allowed back into your home, inspect it for damage. If your property has been damaged, promptly report the loss.
  • Be watchful of snakes that may have found their way into your home.
  • Throw away all food that has come in contact with floodwaters.
  • Remove standing water as quickly as possible, including from your basement. If your basement is flooded, pump out about 1/3 of the water per day to avoid structural damage.
  • Properly dry or remove soaked carpets, padding and upholstery within 24-48 hours after a flood to prevent mold growth. Discard anything that cannot be properly dried.
  • Wash and disinfect all areas that have been flooded. This includes walls, floors, closets and shelves, as well as heating and air-conditioning systems. Do not energize electrical or electronic equipment that may have suffered water damage without first having a qualified electrician inspect and/or test it.

Free Continuing Education Credit for Palliative Care Topics (aka MJHS Palliative Webinar

#mjhs hospice


Monday, December 22, 2014

by Russell K. Portenoy, MD

(Sometimes a simple idea comes along and while revolutionary, you sit there thinking, why didn’t I do that? Many organizations and academic departments have great content experts, probably lecturing to learners every week. But who among us have consistently made these available for free online, in addition to providing free CE credits. We all have access to those tools, but someone did it first and with a year long commitment to teaching. Pallimed asked Dr. Russell Portenoy to explain the origins of a simple yet innovative project, the MJHS palliative care webinar series. Maybe we could see this replicated in other places? – Ed.)

I am grateful to Christian Sinclair for the opportunity to write about the decision to create a new webinar series for those interested in palliative care and to structure in a way that, hopefully, ensures broad access. The back story begins with a decision I made recently to leave the hospital setting, where I had worked for 30 years, to assume a clinical and academic role in a corporation is solely focused on community-based care. MJHS is a large health system in New York, and I had been working part-time for several years in one of its units MJHS Hospice and Palliative Care. The latter organization maintains a large hospice program and several cutting-edge, community-based palliative care programs.

In 2014, the MJHS corporate board made a strong commitment to grow high quality hospice and palliative care programs, and concurrently decided to create a new not-for-profit entity that would pursue academic initiatives in palliative care, including inter-professional training programs, clinical research, and quality management. In mid-June, I became the first Executive Director of the new MJHS Institute for Innovation in Palliative Care and assumed a full-time role as Chief Medical Officer of MJHS Hospice and Palliative Care. Almost immediately, I was joined in the Institute by 10 doctoral level professionals, including experts in education and instructional design, research, and quality.

We have hit the ground running, and are particularly pleased with the decision to create a new online inter-professional webinar series as one of our first projects. Underwritten by a small grant, the series will show 21 live webinars during the first year, approximately one broadcast every two weeks. The topics are relevant to the entire interdisciplinary team.

After each presentation, the webinars are posted online for one year, and both the live and archived webinars will provide continuing education credits to physicians, nurses and social workers. There is no charge for attendance at the live webinar or access to an archived installment. The creation of high-quality education with a low barrier to entry is consistent with the mission of the new MJHS Institute for Innovation in Palliative Care. Through our email reminders to potential attendees, we have started building our own community (contact us at www.mjhspalliativeinstitute.org to get on the email list). We are looking forward to many more contributions and collaborations of this type.

Russell Portenoy, MD is the Executive Director of the MJHS Institute for Innovation in Palliative Care, and the CMO of MJHS Hospice and Palliative Care. He is also a professor of Neurology at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and editor of the Journal of Pain and Symptom Management.

Pallimed: A Hospice Palliative Medicine Blog Founded June 8, 2005. This blog is a labor of love whose only mission is educational. Its content is strictly the work of its authors and has no affiliation with or support from any organization or institution, including the authors’ employers. All opinions expressed on this blog are solely those of its authors. In addition, all opinions expressed on this blog are probably wrong, and should never be taken as medical advice in any form.

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