LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- Whether for home or business, Arkansans who follow Hazard Mitigation guidelines can prevent damage to property.
During the March and April flooding this year, homes and businesses in flood plain areas escaped damage because their owners made adjustments to adhere to the Base Flood Elevation (BFE). The BFE is the computed elevation to which floodwater is anticipated to rise during the base flood and is also the regulatory requirement for the elevation or flood-proofing of structures.
In 1997, Steve and Pam McCumber purchased eight acres on the Norfork River in Baxter County. This parcel was to become the Norfork River Resort. Steve McCumber studied information from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) about flood zones, flood plains and anchoring systems before beginning the project.
McCumber served as his own general contractor on the project because no one wanted to tackle the project with the flood and wind protective measures he planned to employ. The measures included bringing the cabins above the BFE, using concrete pilings and footers, adding hurricane clips to floor joists and roof trusses and securing outdoor furniture and grills.
As the flood waters rose in March 2008, the Norfork River Resort remained unscathed.
"Two resorts in a neighboring area got wiped out," McCumber said. "Their boat docks washed away. Another resort, 12 miles up, got water in their cabins."
"Another flood or hurricane might not come in my lifetime or it just might come tomorrow. So, you have to prepare for it and you have to buy insurance," he said. "It costs more money to take the mitigation measurers up front, but it saves in the long run, and you are spared the headaches of repairing or rebuilding."
Although building with mitigation measures in mind may save in the long run, mitigation ideas may also be used on existing structures, as was the case at Joey Work's Crawford County home.
Work's home suffered flood damages in 2000, 2002, and again in 2004. In 2004, his home was declared to be substantially damaged, or damaged to the point where the cost of restoring the home to its pre-disaster condition was more than 50 percent of the market value of the property.
As a National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) policy holder with a substantial damage claim, Work had to adhere to the NFIP guidelines to elevate his home at or above the BFE. The elevation project took a year to complete.
Work's home qualified for Increased Cost of Compliance (ICC) benefits. ICC covers up to $30,000 to elevate, demolish or relocate the home. The coverage is included under all NFIP policies issued or renewed after June 1, 1997. ICC funds were used to defray the cost of the project. To qualify for ICC money, the damaged structure must be in a High Risk Flood Zone "A" and the total claim including ICC cannot exceed the policy maximum.
In March 2008 when the Mulberry River overtopped its banks and flood waters returned to Work's residence, he was prepared.
"Water got up into the yard only. The elevation project was worth it," Work said.
For more information on mitigation practices which provide safer and stronger structures, visit www.fema.gov/hazus/prevent-disaster-losses.
Individuals who have damages from the flooding of March and April can register for disaster assistance by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or TTY 1-800-462-7585, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday, for those who have hearing or speech impairments. You can also register online at www.fema.gov. The deadline to register is June 27 for those affected by the March and April severe weather.
FEMA coordinates the federal government's role in preparing for, preventing, mitigating the ...