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Betti Johnson, AICP
4000 Gateway Centre Blvd.
Pinellas Park, Florida 33782
Phone: (727)570-5151 ext. 29
While freshwater flooding does occur as a result of hurricanes, flooding can also occur during winter storms as well as prolonged summer thunderstorm activity. Although most communities have flood reduction programs such as elevation requirements and stormwater runoff systems; flooding, like drought, is a natural event, part of the normal water cycle. Flooding disasters, however, are another matter. They usually result from a failure to understand the natural systems of our environment.
Realizing that tax dollars could be saved and disasters avoided through adequate planning, the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) was established. The NFIP offers flood insurance to residents in communities like ours, which adopt appropriate standards and land use controls. The NFIP requires new construction and reconstruction in flood prone areas to elevate at or above the Base Flood Elevation (BFE) to reduce the risk of flooding in the building itself. The NFIP also requires structures damaged more than 50% of the value, to be rebuilt to current standards including elevating the structure. Make sure your insurance policy will cover the replacement costs of your home and belongings and any additional costs to rebuild.
Your community also participates in the Community Rating System (CRS) which enhances the flood plain management program with public education (like this web site). The CRS provides residents with 10-20% reductions in flood insurance premiums! If you have questions about the program, contact your municipal government. If you live in an unincorporated area, call the County Planning or Building Department.
Facts Challenge Myths About Flood Insurance ~ Published by FEMA 2008
If you are at risk from flooding, here are protective measures that need to be taken:
- KNOW YOUR RISK! - Contact your insurance agent to determine if you live or work in the 100- year flood plain. If you do, purchase flood insurance! Also check your homeowner's policy to ensure you and your belongings are protected.
- DISASTER SUPPLIES KIT - Include a stock of food that requires no cooking/ refrigeration and first aid kit.
- Consider acquiring sandbags or other materials to slow seepage into your home.
Flood Warning Stage
- Keep tuned to local stations for evacuation information.
- Avoid putting rescue workers at risk - obey evacuation orders.
- Store drinking water in sterile, covered containers.
- Move valuable objects higher. Place them on shelves, tables and counter tops.
- Fuel your vehicle and check oil and water.
During the Flood Stage
- If flood waters threaten to enter your house, turn off electricity at main circuit box.
- Stay on higher ground
- Do not drive on a flooded road!
- Don't attempt to wade in water above your knees.
After the Flood
- Do not return to your home until officials give the “All Clear”.
- Do not eat food that has come into contact with# flood water. Use your non-perishable food.
- Drink only bottled or previously stored water.
- Stay away from disaster areas.
- Do not handle live electrical equipment.
- Report downed power lines.
- Keep tuned to local stations for emergency# information.
Flooding Myths & Facts
MYTH: Flooding occurs only at low elevations along the coast.
FACT: Flooding is a result of elevation, drainage, soil type and surrounding development. It occurs along the coast and rivers as well as inland. More than 30% of the land in the State of Florida is in the flood plain.
MYTH: My homeowner's policy will cover damage if we are flooded.
FACT: Flood damage is only covered under a separate flood insurance policy.