Washington, DC - The head of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) today recognized Tulsa, Okla., for its outstanding achievements in reducing flood risks and announced that beginning next month, Tulsa property owners will receive a 40 percent discount on their flood insurance premiums.
Michael D. Brown, Under Secretary of Homeland Security for Emergency Preparedness and Response, said that on October 1, Tulsa will become the nation's first Class 2 community under the Community Rating System (CRS) of the National Flood Insurance Program, which rewards communities through reduced flood insurance premiums for activities that go beyond the minimum program requirements.
"One of our principal missions is to help reduce the loss of life and property due to disasters," Brown said. "Tulsa epitomizes the type of natural hazard mitigation that we are trying to foster and provides an example to the nation of what a community can do to protect its residents from becoming disaster victims."
Anthony S. Lowe, Federal Insurance Administrator and FEMA's Mitigation Division Director, praised the city and other Oklahoma communities that participate in the CRS.
"America is safer today because we have proactive communities like Tulsa that demonstrate that sound floodplain management is the most cost-effective approach for protecting their citizens," Lowe said. "Through the CRS, we provide the incentive, but the real leadership that enables your communities to become more resistant to disasters is provided by you, the community leaders."
Lowe said Tulsa's commitment to mitigation is demonstrated by the city's stormwater protection program, through which citizens have approved more than $100 million for flood mitigation projects that are now complete. He noted that just three years ago, Tulsa became the first and, as yet, only CRS Class 3 community. Lowe then cited some of the accomplishments that earned Tulsa its new Class 2 rating:
- The acquisition of more than a thousand flood-prone properties and the preservation of more than a quarter of its floodplain as open space;
- A comprehensive set of building codes that are managed and enforced; and
- Community outreach efforts that advise residents of their flood risks and offer technical assistance and mitigation solutions.
Under the Community Rating System, flood insurance premiums are adjusted downward to reflect the reduced flood risk resulting from programs that focus on public information, mapping and regulations, flood preparedness and flood damage reduction. Credited floodplain management activities have been shown to reduce flood losses and, therefore, flood insurance claims, disaster assistance payments, and the disruption of people's lives.
More information about the National Flood Insurance Program and CRS is available at /nfip/
On March 1, 2003, FEMA became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. FEMA's continuing mission within the new department is to lead the effort to prepare the nation for all hazards and effectively manage federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident. FEMA also initiates proactive mitigation activities, trains first responders, and manages Citizens Corps, the National Flood Insurance Program and the U.S. Fire Administration.