Get Local Permits Before You Rebuild; Repair Safer & Stronger

BATON ROUGE, La. – If you have property affected by the recent severe storms and flooding in Louisiana, you’re encouraged to get the necessary permits before starting new construction or repairs.

“The first step for any property owners in Louisiana who have damage to their homes or businesses should be to check with your local building official,” said Federal Coordinating Officer Gerard M. Stolar. “That official can work with you or your contractor to ensure any permits are properly filed and necessary inspections are carried out.”

Permits may be required for repairs to roofs, walls, siding, wallboard, plaster, insulation, paneling, cabinets, flooring, electrical systems, plumbing, septic systems and heating/air conditioning systems.

Additionally, you should talk to your local floodplain administrator who can help ensure that your repairs are in compliance with your local floodplain management ordinances.

With the proper permits secured, mitigation experts say this is an opportunity to repair and rebuild safer and stronger by taking some smart steps. Those steps, carried out with the help of trained and qualified professionals, include elevating your home; elevating your heating and air-conditioning systems; and rebuilding with flood-resistant materials.

But there are also mitigation ideas that you can do yourself and may cost less than $50:

Power up: After checking what local codes allow, consider raising electrical outlets at least one foot about the minimum flood level for your area, or 24 inches above the floor. Benefit: This helps keep water from seepage or a low-level flood from infiltrating an electrical receptacle.

Put on a strip: Install weather stripping on outside doors and windows to help seal out air and even water. Benefit: It’s relatively easy to install, is effective and durable and comes in a variety of colors.

Caulk it up: Use caulk to seal all exterior openings such as holes where wires, cables and pipes enter or exit a structure. Benefit: In severe storms, a well-sealed exterior helps to keep out wind-driven rain and overland flooding.

For more mitigation ideas and information, visit  

Download the FEMA mobile app for disaster resources, weather alerts, and safety tips. The app provides a customizable checklist of emergency supplies, maps of open shelters and weather alerts from the National Weather Service for up to five locations across the nation. The latest feature of the app allows you to send notifications to your device to remind you to take important steps to prepare your home and family for disasters. Go to for more details.


We urge everyone to continue to use caution in areas where floodwaters remain. Monitor DOTD’s website for updated road closure information. Look for advisories from your local authorities and emergency managers. You can find the latest information on the state’s response at GOHSEP also provides information on Facebook and Twitter. You can receive emergency alerts on most smartphones and tablets by downloading the new Alert FM App. It is free for basic service. You can also download the Louisiana Emergency Preparedness Guide and find other information at

Disaster recovery assistance is available without regard to race, color, religion, nationality, sex, age, disability, English proficiency or economic status.  If you or someone you know has been discriminated against, call FEMA toll-free at 800-621-FEMA (3362). For TTY call 800-462-7585.

FEMA’s mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.  Follow us on Twitter at and the FEMA Blog at

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is the federal government’s primary source of money for the long-term rebuilding of disaster-damaged private property. SBA helps businesses of all sizes, private non-profit organizations, homeowners and renters fund repairs or rebuilding efforts and cover the cost of replacing lost or disaster-damaged personal property. These disaster loans cover losses not fully compensated by insurance or other recoveries and do not duplicate benefits of other agencies or organizations. For more information, applicants may contact SBA’s Disaster Assistance Customer Service Center by calling (800) 659-2955, emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or visiting SBA’s website at Deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals may call (800) 877-8339.


Original author: danielle.cortesdevito
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