Spring 2013 Flood Risk

NOAA Spring Outlook 2013

 

Is your state in a risk-colored section of this map? According to NOAA’s three-month Spring Outlook, you need to be ready with your best mitigation and preparedness tips and education.

Check out the resources on the EDEN website and eXtension. Each site’s search function features additional excellent resources.

What are your favorite flood mitigation and preparedness resources?

Are You Flood Smart? Is Your Community Flood Smart?

Floods are among the most common disasters in the United States, but most homeowners insurance does not cover flood damage.

The level of risk of flood depends on where you live. To learn whether your property is in a low, moderate or high risk area, you can  complete a One-Step Flood Risk Profile or review the Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) for your area. FloodSmart.gov includes several flood risk scenarios that highlight factors that can impact different areas.

The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), created in 1968, offers flood insurance to individuals and business owners if their communities participate in the NFIP. Participating communities agree to adopt and enforce floodplain management standards.

Community constituents receive discounted insurance rates based on actions the community has taken to reduce  flood risks. The discounts are also reflected in policies on community-owned buildings. The Community Rating System (CRS) is the program through which communities earn those discounts for their constituents.

To earn discounts, communities implement and provide proof of their  local mitigation, outreach and educational activities that go beyond minimum NFIP requirements. You can review the status of communities in your state by visiting FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program Community Status Book.

Learn more about the Community Rating System by reviewing StormSmart Coasts CRS Primer.

Responding to Disasters Is Stressful

Going on location to disasters can be a new and harrowing experience for some Extension personnel. Not only are there physical hazards, but mental and social hazards may be part of the turf too.

You may ask yourself if you are doing the right thing. You could begin to doubt if you are putting in enough time relative to the overwhelming needs. You might attend a town hall meeting in which the situation turns ugly. Your family may miss you and you may miss them. And least of all, but not unimportant, you may wonder if you are ever going to get the yard mowed.

Because responding to disaster is new to some in Extension and not new to others, I bet we all have some tips to share. One is having someone close to talk about what you are going through. Another is having a great team of educators and specialists who help with the response. And, my final tip for this blog is to be on the same page with your boss and administrators. At a risk of going on a tangent in this blog, some will argue that Extension doesn’t have a place in direct response. I have found that education is well received in the response phase of a disaster, especially if you’ve made the upfront efforts and contacts.

Recently, FEMA provided a very clear list of hazards associated with flood and cleanups, which range from fatigue to snakes. It is available on the EDEN Floods and Flooding page at   http://eden.lsu.edu/Topics/Hazards/Floods/

What other tips might be useful? Please share so we can all respond smarter.

Steve Cain – Purdue University Extension