While new homes built in Westminster are prohibited from being constructed in a floodplain, some of the city's older homes may be in a floodplain if located near a stream or creek. Even if you live in an older home and have never experienced flooding, there is still the possibility that it could happen in the future. The city can assist you in determining whether or not your house is located in a floodplain, and the following information can help you better protect your home against flood damage.
Flood maps and flood protection references are available at the Westminster Public Library. You can also visit the Community Development Department at City Hall to see if your home is located in a mapped floodplain. If you have experienced a flood, drainage, or sewer backup problems, the city may have information about your property that could be useful.
What You Can Do
You can help reduce the impacts of flooding by doing the following:
Do not dump or throw anything in ditches or streams. It is a violation of a city ordinance because it plugs up water channels and contributes to flooding during periods of heavy water flow. If your property is next to a ditch or stream, you can help by keeping the banks clear of brush and debris. If you see dumping or debris in ditches or streams, contact the Community Development Department at 430-2400, ext. 2120.
Always check with the Building Division before you build, alter, regrade, or fill on your property. A permit may be needed to ensure that projects do not cause flooding problems on other properties.
The Westminster Public Library has information about floodproofing your home. Before implementing any floodproofing measures, contact the city's Building Division to obtain a permit.
If you live in a floodplain, you may need flood insurance. Homeowner's policies typically do not include coverage for flood damage. Also, the city participates in the National Flood Insurance Program, which allows you to purchase a separate flood insurance policy. This coverage may be required by your lender when applying for a home mortgage. Be sure it covers the building's contents as well as its structure.
Don't walk through flowing water. Drowning is the number one cause of flood deaths.
Don't drive through a flooded area. More people drown in their cars than anywhere else.
Stay away from power lines and electrical wires. This is the number two killer after drowning. Report downed power lines to Xcel Energy.
Have your electricity turned off by Xcel Energy. Some appliances, such as televisions, keep electrical charges after they have been unplugged. Don't use appliances or motors that have been wet unless they have been taken apart, cleaned and dried out.
Look out for small animals that may have been flooded out of their homes and are seeking shelter in your home.
Be alert for gas leaks. Don't smoke or use candles, lanterns or open flames unless you know the gas has been turned off and the area has been ventilated.
For more information on flood protection and emergency preparedness, visit the following:
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
Urban Drainage and Flood Control District