City of Tulsa Rises to the Top as a Leader in Risk Reduction

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Tulsa, Oklahoma has always had a flood problem. A turning point came in 1984 when the Memorial Day flood left 14 people dead, injured 288 and flooded approximately 7,000 buildings. This devastating flood was a wake-up call to take action and set things in motion for city leaders.

Since then, Tulsa has stood out as a leader in risk reduction. As a model community they have spent decades developing lofty stormwater management goals including drainage system maintenance and floodplain development priorities. These actions help to reduce risk from future flooding and to save lives.

On April 1, Tulsa will hit the highest possible rating under the National Flood Insurance Program’s Community Rating System. Achieving a Class 1 rating has only been accomplished by one other city in the country, Roseville, California. What sets Tulsa apart are their leaders and planners who long ago realized something had to be done to avoid future losses from floods.

The Community Rating System is a voluntary program for flood loss reduction in which communities that go beyond the minimum floodplain management requirements earn flood insurance discounts for residents.

The residents in Tulsa will reap the benefits of the Class 1 rating as Tulsans will have the lowest flood insurance rates in the nation because of the city’s commitment to protect lives and reduce property damage.  A Class 1 designation means eligible property owners will receive a 45% discount on their flood insurance premiums.

Tulsa should be an example to other communities across the nation that planning, outreach, education, stormwater management and hazard risk reduction not only saves lives but offers great incentives for residents to buy and maintain flood insurance. 

For more information, read the case study: Teamwork Approach to Outreach and Engagement Reduces Flood Risk.

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