As recovery carries on in New Jersey and hurricane season nears, Hurricane Sandy survivors may be asking themselves: What can I do to make sure my property doesn’t flood again?
The Federal Emergency Management Agency reminds residents living in flood-prone areas to take proactive measures to reduce their risk of damage and loss from flooding. Below are some frequently asked questions and the mitigation resources available to answer them.
Is my property at risk of flooding?
Visit FEMA’s map service center at msc.fema.gov to view your community’s flood hazard maps.
FEMA developed and released new advisory base flood elevation maps to show a current picture of flood risk for 10 coastal communities in New Jersey affected by Hurricane Sandy. These counties include Atlantic, Bergen, Burlington, Cape May, Essex, Hudson, Middlesex, Monmouth, Ocean and Union.
What are Advisory Base Flood Elevation maps?
Local government officials and property owners can use information and maps on advisory base flood elevation to determine where flood risk exists and decide whether to rebuild to higher elevations to prevent future flood damage. For information on Hurricane Sandy advisory base flood elevations, go to www.region2coastal.com/sandy/abfe. Access the advisory base flood elevation toolkit at www.region2coastal.com/sandy/abfe/property owners.
View a fact sheet at 18.104.22.168/Public/Public_Documents/Sandy_ABFE_Fact_Sheet.pdf and more FAQs at www.region2coastal.com./faqs/advisory-bfe-faq.
What is my Advisory Base Flood Elevation?
Find the answer at www.region2coastal.com/sandy/table. Enter your address and click Get Details. Be sure the graphic of the red and yellow flag represents the location of your property. If it does not, find your house on the map and click on it, and the information will be refreshed. Print the report and take it to your local building and/or permitting authority for information on the building requirements for your property.
My property was damaged during Hurricane Sandy and now I have to rebuild. Where do I begin?
FEMA offers valuable information on how to rebuild a flood-damaged home and what mitigation techniques should be adopted to protect it from future flooding. From returning to a flood-damaged home, drying it out and cleaning mold to selecting the right contractor and building materials, the step-by-step guide leads you through the process of rebuilding stronger, safer and smarter. Download the guide in English and Spanish at www.fema.gov/library/viewRecord.do?id=4654.
My property is located in a coastal area. How should I rebuild?
FEMA has a series of fact sheets that provide technical guidance and recommendations concerning the construction of residential buildings in coastal areas. The fact sheets offer advice on how to improve the performance of buildings vulnerable to flooding and strong winds in coastal environments. Download the homebuilder’s guide to coastal construction at www.fema.gov/library/viewRecord.do?id=2138.
How do I elevate my home, business or other property?
FEMA’s “Above the Flood: Elevating Your Floodprone House” gives examples of how flood-prone homes in south Florida were elevated above the 100-year flood level following Hurricane Andrew and illustrates effective elevation techniques. Download the case study at www.fema.gov/library/viewRecord.do?id=1424.
Which retrofitting method is right for my property?
Homeowners who want to protect their homes from flooding can find information about their options and guidance on flood protection methods and building construction techniques in FEMA’s homeowner’s guide to retrofitting at www.fema.gov/library/viewRecord.do?id=1420.
FEMA has also published a wind retrofit guide for residential buildings based on retrofitting initiatives in Mississippi and across the Gulf Coast. The guide provides tips on how to protect residential buildings from high winds in coastal areas. Download the guide at www.fema.gov/library/viewRecord.do?id=4569.
How can I protect my manufactured home from flood damage?
FEMA provides important information for manufactured homeowners who want to protect their homes from natural disasters. The guide recommends several effective designs for conventional concrete, masonry pier and wood-framed foundations. Download the guide at www.fema.gov/library/viewRecord.do?id=1577.
Where can I find additional information about mitigation techniques?
The mitigation webpage on the FEMA website (www.fema.gov/what-mitigation) is a great place to start. Visit www.fema.gov/building-science/hurricane-sandy-building-science-activities-resources to access a wealth of information about rebuilding after Hurricane Sandy. The page is updated regularly with fliers, recovery advisories, technical bulletins and fact sheets.
There are many resources available to help people with disabilities and/or access and functional needs repair or rebuild their homes and protect against damages or loss from future disasters. Go to www.disability.gov/home/i_want_to/housing_options/home_repairs_and_modifications.
Remember that before building, you should consult with your local building officials to determine the mandatory elevations for your home, business or other property.