Oklahoma City, OK -- Homeowners and business owners in Oklahoma whose properties were damaged or destroyed by the late October flooding are urged to rebuild responsibly. By following flood-related mitigation procedures, homes and businesses can be made flood-resistant.
Anyone considering rebuilding in a recognized floodplain must contact their local building official for required permits before construction begins. The project will have to comply with local ordinances and codes, including any floodplain guidelines.
"The building permit requirement is for the benefit of the applicant," said Fred Liebe, state coordinating officer for Oklahoma. "It can help residents and business owners avoid many costly mistakes and provides them with technical advice on ways to prevent future flood damage to their property. Communities also adopt and enforce flood protection codes in a floodplain area not only to help prevent flood losses, but also to insure that its citizens are eligible to purchase the all-important National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) protection," Liebe added.
A primary mitigating practice is the purchase of flood insurance through NFIP. The policy is available from private insurance agencies in jurisdictions that have agreed to adopt guidelines set by NFIP.
"The goal, when rebuilding or repairing damaged homes and other structures in a disaster area, is to follow flood mitigation practices as outlined in NFIP guidelines," said Joe D. Bray, federal coordinating officer (FCO) for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
Homes that are more than 50 percent damaged in a designated floodplain are required to follow NFIP guidelines. It is recommended that the homeowner either elevate the repaired structure to a level one foot above the Base Flood Elevation (BFE) or move the home to a location outside the floodplain.
When a disaster strikes and the President issues a declaration, residents and businesses with damages in a floodplain where the community does not participate in NFIP are limited in the type of disaster assistance available to them. They are eligible for the Temporary Housing Rental Grant. They are unable to receive home repair grants, Small Business Administration (SBA) low interest disaster loans or state-administered Individual and Family Grants.