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** Archived Article - please check for current information. **

March 21, 2013

National Flood Safety Awareness Week March 18-22

Flood waters are America’s number one natural hazard claiming an average of 95 lives each year and causing millions of dollars in damage. Lives can be saved, damages can be reduced, and normal, everyday living can be resumed after an event when citizens are informed, prepared, and resilient to flood events. Join the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and the S.C. Department of Natural Resources (DNR) in support of National Flood Safety Awareness Week from March 18th-22nd.

The intent of the week is to educate citizens on how floods occur, the hazards associated with floods, and what can be done to protect life and property. The Flood Mitigation Program of DNR administers the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) in the state with a mission to work with South Carolina communities to minimize losses due to flood conditions. When a community joins the NFIP, in return for federally subsidized flood insurance being offered to citizens of a municipality, that municipality is required to adopt a Flood Damage Prevention Ordinance. The ordinance covers definitions, building requirements, and enforcement policies.

The majority of communities in the state are enrolled in the NFIP, and many even go beyond the federal regulations to adopt higher standards of flood protection. Some communities do this through the Community Rating System whereby stricter regulations result in lower premium rates for their citizens. Communities can adopt ‘freeboard’- increases in elevation above the Base Flood Elevation (the mapping term for the height of water in an area based on the 1% annual chance of flood). If the Base Flood Elevation is 25, the community’s ordinance may require 2 feet of freeboard, requiring a home to be built at an elevation of 27 feet, offering 2 extra feet of flood protection.

There are numerous ways communities work to protect citizens and their properties from flooding, but often times, citizens won’t be aware of this until they file for a permit. In honor of National Flood Safety Awareness Week, look into whether or not your community is enrolled in the National Flood Insurance Program. Does your community participate in the Community Rating System, allowing for reduced flood insurance premiums? Do you know your individual risk of experiencing flood damages, and have you mitigated that risk by purchasing flood insurance? You don’t have to live or work in a building within the state’s 6,000 plus square miles of regulated floodplain to be at risk of flooding. You can visit your local municipality’s website to find out where the nearest regulated floodplain is to you, usually under a Planning Department, using a GIS mapping system. You can also visit FloodSmart.Gov and use the One-Step Flood Risk Profile to generate your level of risk based on an address. Do your part to be flood smart!

For more information on state floodplain management, mapping and mitigation, contact the DNR Flood Mitigation Program at www.dnr.sc.gov/flood or visit us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/SCDNRFloodMitigation.

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