TEXAS CITY, Texas -- With the memory of Hurricane Ike and the 21 federally declared disasters in the state since 1996, Texans seek ways to protect families and keep property losses to a minimum.
"Nobody can stop flooding from a hurricane," said Brad Harris, Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) federal coordinating officer for Hurricane Ike. "But if you are faced with this situation, there are actions you can take to protect your family and keep your property losses to a minimum."
Mitigation lessens the damaging effects from flooding. Participating in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and enforcing sound building codes and floodplain management techniques are steps your community can undertake. In the past more than 30 percent of the flood property losses have occurred outside of the mapped floodplains so it is important to build to the historical flooding for your location and the purchase of flood insurance can reduce the financial burden should a flood or flash flood occur.
What is your flood risk? Community officials or local emergency management office are the best resources to learn about the history of flooding for the region. Ask whether your property is in the floodplain and if it is above or below the Base Flood Elevation (BFE). Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) are used to determine your flood risk. FIRMs are found in several places:
- Your local community map repository, usually, the building and planning departments;
- The FEMA Map Store for maps, flood studies and other products on-line or paper copies; and
- Call a map specialist for specific questions about your flood zone at 1-877-336-2627.
FEMA leads and supports the nation in a risk-based, comprehensive emergency management system of preparedness, protection, response, recovery, and mitigation, to reduce the loss of life and property and protect the nation from all hazards including natural disasters, acts of terrorism and man-made disasters.