This page provides repairing and rebuilding information for Arkansas residents impacted by disaster.
Important Message for Flood Survivors
- If your home or business was damaged or destroyed by flood, you face major decisions about your property.
- If you have questions or need help with your flood insurance contact the National Flood Insurance Program Help Center:
1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or visit: www.fema.gov/national-flood-insurance-program-technical-support-hotline
Contact Your Local Building Official or Floodplain Manager BEFORE Starting Repairs!
- Learn about National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) regulations regarding substantial damage and improvement BEFORE starting to make repairs.
- Ask for a Substantial Damage Determination from your local building official or floodplain manager. They will provide specific details regarding local ordinance requirements which will help you decide the best options for rebuilding.
- Local Floodplain Management requirements for new construction will apply to substantial improvements. The building must be brought into compliance with the NFIP. This may include elevating the building, relocating the building to an area outside of the high-risk flood zone, or demolishing the building and rebuilding in compliance.
Increased Cost of Compliance
- ICC is also “Coverage D” in the NFIP Standard Flood Insurance Policy. It pays the insured up to $30,000 to comply with a state or local floodplain management law or ordinance affecting repair or reconstruction of a flood-damaged building. Qualifying structures must be declared a “substantially damaged” or “repetitive loss” property by a community official.
- Eligible mitigation activities are floodproofing (with few exceptions, floodproofing is only approved for commercial buildings), elevation, relocation, and demolition (or any combination thereof).
- Construction funded by ICC payments must be completed within 4 years of the substantial damage determination. ICC funds are available in addition to some federal assistance allocated for use to protect the building from future loss.
ICC claims are filed through your insurance agent. The NFIP Flood Insurance Claims Handbook provides good information about filing your ICC claim.
- Consult local building officials for information and permits when considering new construction or repairs on property affected by recent flooding. Obtaining building permits for homes or businesses located within a high-risk flood area is especially important as additional permits may be required, such as a land use permit or zoning permit, depending on the property location.
- Local governments cannot reduce or ignore the floodplain requirements for building or repairs.
- Repair projects must meet community building codes and flood-damage prevention ordinances.
- Residents are required to start construction and repair only after they have received permits from their local building department.
Know Your Risk: Has it changed?
The flood may have changed your known risks to new risks you face today or tomorrow. Stay informed through your local Floodplain Manager and maintain flood insurance.
Lower Your Flood Insurance Premium
Talk to community officials, builders, and other experts about how you can reduce future flood losses. Then talk with your flood insurance agent about how building smarter can save you serious premium dollars.
Options May be Available to Offset Cost
Choosing the right option requires research, planning, contacting local officials, and benefit-cost assessments (e.g. relocating or elevating the building will impact flood insurance premiums, while other options will not). Talk to your local community officials about available grants to help fund mitigation activities. Also ask about relocation, buyout or acquisition programs.
Filing a Flood Insurance Claim
Contact your agent or insurance company. An insurance adjuster should contact you within a few days to inspect the property. Have this information ready:
Name of the Insurance Company, Policy Number, Contact Information
Obtain a Proof of Loss form from the insurance adjuster. The insurance adjuster will collect evidence, take photographs of damaged property, capture high water marks inside and outside the structure, place damaged items outside the home for the adjusters inspection.
File claim with your Insurance Company within 240 days of the May 2015 floods. This is required to pay your claim.
Agree to Damage Amount with Insurer. Sign the Proof of Loss. File the claim. If major flooding has occurred, it may take longer to process claims due to the number of claims.
- If you have questions or issues with your flood insurance claim please contact:
The National Flood Insurance Program Help Center at: 1-800-427-4661 or visit
- Visit FEMA's Flood Insurance Reform webpage (www.fema.gov/national-flood-insurance-program/flood-insurance-reform) for information on the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014 and other reforms.
- Communities may be eligible for Hazard Mitigation grants and loans, visit FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Assistance webpage: www.fema.gov/hazard-mitigation-assistance
- Obtain a tailored list of assistance available on www.DisasterAssistance.gov
- Learn how to build safer and stronger and potentially decrease your flood insurance premiums, go to the FEMA Building Science Branch website. www.fema.gov/building-science
- For information about local building code and permit requirements, contact your local community officials.
Cleaning Up After a Flood and/or a Tornado
If you had water in your home, mold can become a health issue you will need to address. The following precautions are suggestions you may want to use:
- Confirm the water supply is safe to drink. Listen for news reports to learn whether the community’s water supply has been contaminated by the floodwaters. Remember to carry bottled drinking water and discard any food products that may have come in contact with floodwater.
- Wear protective clothing. Protect yourself during cleanup by wearing boots, gloves and masks. Clean and disinfect everything floodwater contacted.
- Ventilate your home. Open all doors and windows to allow air to circulate and dry out your home. Dehumidify as soon as possible after a flood.
- Service damaged septic tanks, cesspools, pit and leaching systems as soon as possible. Damaged sewage systems are serious health hazards.
- Make a list of lost or damaged items. Be sure to include their age and value, and if possible, have receipts for those items available.
- Isolate any moldy objects. Seal moldy trash in plastic bags and remove them immediately. Objects you can save should be dried or frozen as soon as possible. Freezing deactivates mold.
- Prevent mold growth. Wash all surface areas in the house that came in contact with floodwater. Disinfect and wipe surfaces dry with paper towels to minimize bacterial contamination.
Visit the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to learn more about cleaning up after a flood.
Cleaning up after a tornado will require caution as well. You may want to take the following precautions:
- Wear sturdy shoes or boots, long sleeves and gloves.
- Learn proper safety procedures and operating instructions before operating any gas-powered or electric-powered saws or tools.
- Clean up spilled medicines, drugs, flammable liquids and other potentially hazardous materials
If You Have Flood Insurance
Contact your Insurance Agent immediately.
- After the Flood - tips from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP)
- Answers to Questions about the NFIP - Explains the basics of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and answers the most common questions.
- What You Need to Know about Federal Disaster Assistance and National Flood Insurance
- NFIP Flood Insurance Claims Handbook - gives policyholders tips about what to do before and after a flood, including filing a claim, and the steps involved in appealing a denied claim.
- Increased Cost of Compliance (ICC) - is part of most Standard Flood Insurance Policies. Claims for ICC benefits are filed separately from your claim for contents or building loss.
- Filing a Flood Insurance Claim - provides steps for you to follow to file a claim.
If You DON'T Have Flood Insurance
- Why You Need Flood Insurance - Explains the importance of having flood insurance in addition to homeowner's insurance
- Flood Insurance vs. Disaster Assistance - Fact sheet outlining the differences between the two programs and it's impacts.
Contact your local Insurance Agent to learn about purchasing flood insurance for structures and contents.
General Flood Publications
- Build Back Safer and Stronger - What you need to know if your home or business has been flooded.
- Answers to Questions about Substantially Damaged Buildings - Explains how to properly determine if a building is substantially damaged in accordance with the NFIP regulations.
FEMA Building Sciences - Rebuilding Safer and Stronger
- Taking Shelter From the Storm: Building a Safe Room Inside Your Home or Small Business (FEMA P-320) - Having a safe room in your home or small business can help provide "near-absolute protection" for you and your family or your employees from injury or death caused by the dangerous forces of extreme winds.
- Design and Construction Guidance for Community Safe Rooms (FEMA P-361) - This publication presents design, construction, and operation criteria for both residential and community safe rooms that will provide near-absolute life safety protection during tornado and hurricane events.
- Tornado Protection: Selecting Refuge Areas in Buildings (FEMA P-431) - This booklet presents information that will aid qualified architects and engineers in the identification of the best available refuge areas in existing buildings.
- Design Guidance for Shelters and Safe Rooms (FEMA 453) - The objective of this manual is to provide guidance for engineers, architects, building officials, and property owners to design shelters and safe rooms in buildings.
- Safe Room and Community Shelter Resources CD (FEMA 388 CD) - On this CD, you will find displays, posters, handouts, multimedia, and other resources that provide information about mitigating for tornadoes or other high-wind events and about the importance of safe rooms and community shelter construction in saving lives during such events.
- Community Safe Room Fact Sheet - This fact sheet provides information about safe rooms and explains that a safe room is a room or structure specifically designed and constructed to resist wind pressures and wind-borne debris impacts during an extreme-wind event, like tornadoes and hurricanes, for the purpose of providing life-safety protection.
- Residential Safe Room Fact Sheet - This fact sheet provide information about residential safe rooms and explains that a safe room is a room or structure specifically de-signed and constructed to resist wind pressures and wind-borne debris impacts during an extreme-wind event, like tornadoes and hurricanes, for the purpose of providing life-safety protection.
Publicaciones en Español
Videos - Information on Safe Rooms, "Hardening" of a Home, and Flood Mitigation
What Makes a Safe Room Safe? - An animated illustration of the key Safe Room design elements that give a Safe Room "near absolute protection" from a severe storm, tornado or hurricane.
Building Stronger After a Tornado - Following tornadoes where homes are destroyed, some homeowners are strengthing their new homes by building safer structures.
Safe Room Technical Guidance Video - Interview with Bob Franke (FEMA Region VII) regarding FEMA P-320 (Taking Shelter From the Storm: Building a Safe Room For Your Home or Small Business) and other guidance/research on regarding building a safe room.
Safe Room Construction Videos - These four videos depict how to construct a residential or business safe room. These videos do NOT have an audio component.
Anchoring Home Fuel Tanks - This video explain the reason why and how external fuel tanks should be anchored.
Family Elevates Home to Protect It - explains how and why a home in Georgia is being elevated after flooding.
Public Service Announcement - elevation after previous storms and the benefit of elevation.
State, Indian Tribal, and local officials develop and adopt mitigation plans to meet the requirements of the Stafford Act. The Multi-Hazard Mitigation Planning Guidance provides the official guidance on these requirements and procedures for approval of hazard mitigation plans. The core steps in the graphic below show the process to complete a mitigation plan.
Hazard Mitigation Grant Program
The Hazard Mitgation Grant Program (HMGP) can be used to fund projects to protect either public or private property, as long as the project fits within State and local government mitigation strategies to address areas of risk and complies with HMGP guidelines. Through your State Hazard Mitigation Officer, communities and Federally Recognized Tribes can learn how to develop an application for a Hazard Mitigation Grant.
FEMA provides a variety of hazard mitigation grants to states and communities. To learn more, see the Hazard Mitigation Assistance (HMA) Grant Programs Fact Sheet.
Environmental Planning and Historic Preservation
It is FEMA's policy to act with care to ensure that its disaster response and recovery, mitigation and preparedness responsibilities are carried out in a manner that is consistent with all Federal environmental and historic preservation policies and laws. To learn more how you can help with this process after the tornado, visit the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality - disaster response and the Heritage Emergency National Task Force. Also, read “Advice for Saving Damaged Family Treasures” for the care, protection, and restoration of family heirlooms, photos, and other keepsakes, or visit the National Archives for additional information.
FEMA collects Mitigation success stories, encourages the public to share their stories, and to review stories from other residents, it is known as the Best Practices Portfolio. Over the course of the coming days, weeks, and months we will be developing these stories for you based on this last event, until then there are other best practices from past events available for you to read.
Region VI Mitigation Contacts
- Region VI Mitigation Contacts -- to talk to a FEMA Specialist