Our coastal neighborhoods are a big part of what makes New York City unique. The city’s 520-mile coastline varies dramatically from one neighborhood to the next — dotted with bungalows in some areas, densely packed with row homes in others. This variation in density and housing type makes a one-size-fits-all approach to protecting your property from flood risk unrealistic for New York City. Luckily, there are many different ways to fortify our neighborhoods and strengthen our coast. We refer to this as "mitigation," and it can refer to everything from retrofits to adaptive methods of floodproofing.
Mitigation on a Budget
There are several other actions you can take that do not lower insurance rates, but can help protect your home from flood damage.
Replacing carpet with tiles
Your bathroom is waterproof — why can’t your basement be, too? If your basement has tiles instead of carpet, clean up will be easier and you’ll prevent a few inches of flood water from doing major damage.
Install backwater preventers
Relatively inexpensive and easy to install, backflow preventers stop sewer and stormwater from entering your home through sinks, toilets, and bathtubs when the systems surrounding your home are overwhelmed with flood water.
Install a sump pump
Sump pumps help to drain seepage and water entering buildings through cracks in foundations, porous surfaces and other penetrations such as underground conduits.
Floodproof the interior of building systems
This calls for sealing buildings to keep water out using passive or active mechanical devices such as concrete ring walls around a boiler, floodproof doors or barriers.
Install flood damage resistant materials
Materials such as non-paper-faced gypsum board and terrazzo tile flooring for building materials and furnishings reduces flood damage and speeds post-flood clean up. This option can also include the use of floodproof cabinets and replacing wooden items such as doors with metal or other surfacing water-resistant materials.
As we protect our homes, it’s important to keep in mind that resiliency is not just a physical intervention – it’s also a personal mindset. If resiliency is the ability to anticipate and adapt to adversity, strengthening New York City’s coastal neighborhoods starts with New Yorkers: how we find support in one another, and how we find strength in ourselves.
Connect with your community
Making the effort to meet and support others on your block and in your neighborhood will give you all strength in numbers. And helping others can also benefit the helper – something New Yorkers know well.
Take decisive actions
Rather than detaching completely from problems and stresses and wishing they would just go away, take action. The sooner you act, the sooner you can move towards resolution. Act on adverse situations as much as you can.
Move toward your goals
Instead of focusing on tasks that seem unachievable, ask yourself, "What's one thing I know I can accomplish today that helps me move in the direction I want to go?" Do something regularly — even if it seems like a small accomplishment — that enables you to move forward.
Take care of yourself
Exercise your mind and your body regularly. Pay attention to your own needs and feelings. Take part in activities that you enjoy and find relaxing.
*This section is adapted from the American Psychology Association’s
Road to Resilience.