Floods are consistently the most common, costly and
deadly natural disaster Americans face each year-ninety percent of all natural
disasters in the nation involve flooding. As part of Flood Safety Awareness Week
(March 16-20, 2009), the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the
National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) will partner with the National Oceanic
and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and National Weather Service (NWS) to
demonstrate flood risks across the country and provide important information
about steps you can take to protect yourself and your family.
"Knowing the individual safety tips for a flood scenario is certainly paramount.
Understanding and mitigating the broader impacts that a flood can have on your
home and your financial well-being is also critical," said Ed Connor, Acting
Federal Insurance Administrator for FEMA's Mitigation Directorate. "Many
residents incorrectly believe, for example, that homeowners insurance covers the
costs of flooding when only flood insurance protects properties from flooding
In partnership with NOAA, the NFIP has developed a webpage featuring an
interactive map depicting historical information about how floods have impacted
millions of Americans in recent years. The site also provides tools and
resources for understanding your risk and knowing what to do: before a flood,
during a flood, and after a flood. To learn more about Flood Safety Awareness
Week and to utilize these resources, visit
Citizen Corps Councils and Partners: Because floods can happen anywhere, Citizen
Corps Councils and partners nationwide should work to spread awareness on flood
safety and the NFIP in their communities. For example, a Council can distribute
flood risk and flood insurance facts, such as the following:
- A car can easily be carried away by just two feet of floodwater.
- Your home has a 26% chance of being damaged by a flood during the course of a
30-year mortgage, compared to a 9% chance of fire.
- Just a few inches of water can cause tens of thousands of dollars in damage,
destroying homes, businesses, and wiping out personal savings should a resident
NOT have flood insurance.
- Hurricanes, winter storms and snowmelt are common (but often overlooked) causes
- New land development can increase flood risk, especially if the construction
changes natural runoff paths.
- Flood insurance compensates policyholders for all covered losses, and as opposed
to a disaster loan, there is no payback requirement.
- Once flood insurance is purchased, there is typically a 30-day waiting period
for the policy to become effective.
In addition to distributing information, Councils and partners should assess
which areas and populations in their communities are vulnerable and determine
how to assist the community before, during, and after a flood. Furthermore, if
their community does not participate in the NFIP, the Council can work with
civic leaders to determine if participation would be beneficial. The NFIP only
offers flood insurance to homeowners, renters, and business owners if their
community participates in the program. Participating communities must agree to
adopt and enforce strict floodplain management statutes to effectively reduce
their flood risks. The following website lists current NFIP participating
For additional resources and information about flood risk, flood insurance, and
flood zones, visit www.FloodSmart.gov
. In addition, flood risk and NFIP
factsheets and talking points can be downloaded from the Citizen Corps website
The National Office of Citizen Corps
FEMA Community Preparedness Division