Floods have been in the news a lot in 2006. Already this year more than 60% of federal disaster declarations in the United States have involved flooding. Most recently, the Southwest was hard hit by flash floods produced by a monsoon. Is there anything you can do to protect yourself against flood? Certainly. Start by assessing your home’s flood risk. The National Flood Insurance Program provides a useful tool for measuring your flood risk at www.FloodSmart.gov—look for the “What’s your flood risk?” tab. Another thing you should do is compare the elevation of your property to the Base Flood Elevation (BFE). BFE refers to the height that water will reach in the event of a “100-year flood,” or a flood with a 1% chance of occurring in any given year. You can find this information by contacting your local building officials or local floodplain management officials. You can also get additional information and requirements for buildings in the floodplain as well as permitting requirements. In the next blog entry, I’ll tell you what to do with the information once you’ve got it.
I've often heard the adage, "Measure twice, cut once" but it doesn't seem to apply to me. I have the unique ability to measure something two hundred times and still mess it up. Very frustrating, especially when cutting holes in something bulky like drywall. Messing up costs money! Luckily, Blind Mark of Michigan has devised an easy solution that even I can figure out for for cutting electrical-box access holes. Using a combination of magnets to locate the electrical box's position, the Blind Mark Locator shows just where to cut in two steps. After the standard blue or gray electrical box is installed, you fit it with one of Blind Mark's "targets". Once the wallboard or paneling is up, you use the magnetic "locator" to find the box and clamp onto the face, giving you a perfect guide for cutting out your box. It's a foolproof way to save yourself some mistakes and money. Blind Mark is available online for just $29.95.