All Flood Barriers Are Not Created Equal

Author: Terry Smith | PS Flood Barriers™

Flooding presents itself in many different forms, and as a result, flood protection comes in various forms as well. Each type has its own unique benefits, and your choice ultimately comes down to which one will be the most effective in the situation at hand. The Federal Emergency Management Agency – better known as FEMA – suggests that property owners utilize passive flood intervention whenever possible. However, while passive barriers certainly provide a wide range of benefits, they may not be the most effective solution in every instance. In fact, there are times when a combination of several barrier types might be the best answer. That’s why it’s so important to understand the differences, benefits and limitations of each type of flood protection. 

Rapid Deployment Flood Barriers – These non-permanent flood barriers are used in circumstances when quick-rising floodwaters need to be effectively contained to prevent the destruction of property. They may be known for the speed with which they deploy, but planning and purchasing these types of barriers usually needs to be done prior to actual flooding. They do a good job of holding back fast-rising floodwater, but their effectiveness can be limited by their height, as well as the load capacity (measured in hydrostatic pressure) that they are able to withstand. The initial cost of these barriers is rather low in comparison to other types of flood protection; however, installation labor costs can add up if flooding occurs on a regular basis. Products include: FloodStop Barriers (shown to the left)

Active Flood Barriers – While requiring human intervention to deploy, these permanent flood barriers physically attach to the existing structure around the opening they are protecting. They are designed to stay in place at all times and are extremely effective at holding back water once activated. These types of barriers come in many different variations and can be engineered to withstand extremely high hydrostatic pressure loads. Although they do come with a higher price tag than most rapid deployment options, their ability to be attached to the structure and easily deployed makes them cost-effective. Products include: HydroDefense™ Flood Plank Systems, EzDam®, Sliding Flood Barrier (shown to the right), Hinged Flood Barriers and Vertical Lift Flood Barrier

Passive Flood Barriers – These types of barriers are always in place and require no human intervention or electricity to activate. They are triggered by the hydrostatic pressure of rising floodwater. Their ability to provide constant 24-hour protection makes them especially effective in areas of flash flooding where deployment is needed at a moment’s notice. While passive flood barriers do provide significant peace of mind, they also tend to be among one of the more expensive flood protection solutions. Products include: Pedestrian Flood Doors (shown to the left), Fire Rated Flood Doors, Self-Closing Flood Barrier, Bottom Hinge Flood Barrier and Flood Hatch


No-Human-Intervention Barriers – Barriers in this category are technically passive as well, but rely on mechanical help to deploy. Common examples include power-operated barriers that are installed with battery backups and water monitors. These measures ensure that the barriers are deployed effectively when sensing floodwater, even when the primary power source is disrupted. 

Combinations – Finally, some flood protection barriers combine both passive and active technologies. For example, many combination-type barriers are activated by hydrostatic pressure, but can also be deployed manually or electrically before flooding conditions are present if the property owner desires. 

There’s no such thing as one barrier that will work for every type of flooding situation which is why PS Flood Barriers™ manufactures a variety of industry-leading flood protection products in each category.

Water protection heights, hydrostatic pressure loads, building structure and budget all come into play when selecting which type of barrier will provide the best flood protection for your property. When the time comes to make these decisions, it’s always beneficial to partner with a company that has the experience and industry knowledge to guide you in the right direction. 

Contact Terry Smith at 877-446-1519 or today to determine the best type of flood barrier for your situation.