Mesa, AZ -- The wildfires that destroy natural forest barriers leave behind scorched and barren land that will take decades to recover. This can result in erosion and flooding from relatively small amounts of rain. Fire damage heightens the risk of flash floods, which strike suddenly and with greater velocity than seasonal flooding. While wildfires can't always be predicted, the flooding dangers that follow them can be.
One doesn't have to be in a high-risk flood zone to be at risk for floods and most floods are too small to qualify for federal disaster assistance. A fourth of all flood insurance claims are for properties outside high-risk areas. Even in a federally declared disaster, recovery assistance is usually in the form of a loan that has to be repaid with interest. Standard homeowners policies do not cover flood losses, but the National Flood Insurance Program does.
Homeowners, business owners and renters should consider taking this opportunity to protect themselves from another disaster by purchasing federally backed flood insurance. In most cases, a family home can be insured for less than it costs to insure a car.
The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) is administered by FEMA and can be purchased through local insurance agents. For more information call your insurance agent or NFIP at 1-800-427-4661.
The Arizona Division of Emergency Management coordinates emergency services and the efforts of governmental agencies to reduce the impact of disasters on persons and property through disaster mitigation programs and the coordination of federal, state and local government agencies to respond to, and recover from, disasters through training and emergency response planning. Visit our ADEM website at www.dem.state.az.us.
FEMA is the federal agency that coordinates response efforts to federal disasters. The agency's 10 regional offices work directly with the states to help plan for disasters, develop mitigation programs and meet needs when disasters occur. FEMA Region IX serves the states of Arizona, California, Hawaii and Nevada, as well as the territories of American Samoa and Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the Republic of the Marshall Islands and the Federated States of Micronesia. Visit the FEMA website at www.fema.gov.
SBA low interest disaster loans are the primary source of federal funds for repairing or rebuilding disaster damage to private property owned by homeowners, renters and businesses of all sizes.