This week professionals from across the nation are meeting in Louisville, KY at the Association of State Floodplain Managers conference, during a time of massive flooding threats across large areas of the US. Louie Greenwell helps us understand why their work is so important to all of us.
FEMA’s Risk Mapping Assessment and Planning (Risk MAP) program is focused not only on flood hazard identification, but helping communities take actions to reduce or eliminate their flood risks. To be successful, FEMA is helping local officials and the general public better understand their risks and Stantec is FEMA’s partner in this effort.
Fact: If you live in the special flood hazard area, you have a 26% chance of being flooded over a 30-year period – the typical length of a home mortgage.
Fact: Floods, especially flash floods, kill more people each year than any other weather phenomenon.
Fact: Most flood deaths, about 60%, result from people being swept away when trying to cross flooded roads.
Fact: Most cars will experience loss of control or may even float in less than 12 inches of water. This message has even made its way to school kids through the “Turn Around, Don’t Drown” campaign.
Significant flooding can also occur when flood protection structures fail. Despite media coverage of levee and dam failures, people that live behind or downstream of these structures have a false sense of security. Even worse, many people don’t even know that they could be impacted by a dam or levee breach because traditional communication methods have not been effective.
|Flood risk map detail|
Getting this message out is a significant part of the Risk MAP communication and outreach strategy. If people understand that floods can occur just about anywhere and for many reasons, they may be better prepared in the event that disaster happens.
Simply knowing your risk is not enough. Taking action to reduce risk is the key. By educating local officials on effective flood mitigation alternatives and providing various grant programs to help offset the costs, FEMA is encouraging communities to become more sustainable.
To learn more about your risks from flooding and what you can do to reduce those risks, visit http://www.floodsmart.gov/.
Oh, and when your kids tell you not to cross the flooded roadway…listen to them!