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New Mexico Disaster Mitigation

This page contains mitigation information and resources for residents and communities in New Mexico recovering from disaster.

Prepare for Disasters Now

Financial Preparedness - Being ready for a disaster is more than storing water and supplies.  You also need to be financially ready.  Starting early and having adequate insurance, a plan to pay your bills and access to your important records and accounts will help you get back on your feet faster and avoid problems with your credit when you need it most.

Earthquakes - Sudden rolling or shaking events caused by movement under the earth’s surface, earthquakes happen along cracks in the earth's surface, called fault lines, and can be felt over large areas, although they usually last less than one minute. Earthquakes cannot be predicted — although scientists are working on it!

Extreme Heat - Learn what actions to take when the weather is extremely hot and how to understand heat alerts from the National Weather Service that you could receive in your local area.

Floods - Learn what actions to take when you receive a flood watch or warning alert from the National Weather Service for your local area and what to do before, during, and after a flood.

Severe Weather - Can happen anytime, in any part of the country. Severe weather can include hazardous conditions produced by thunderstorms, including damaging winds, tornadoes, large hail, flooding and flash flooding, and winter storms associated with freezing rain, sleet, snow and strong winds.

Tornadoes - Spawned from powerful thunderstorms, tornadoes can cause fatalities and devastate a neighborhood in seconds.

Wildfires - What actions do you need to take if you receive a fire weather watch alert from the National Weather Service for your local area and what to do before, during, and after a wildfire.

Contact Your Local Building Official And/Or Floodplain Manager BEFORE Starting Repairs After ANY Damage To Your Home or Business!

  • 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.
  • Learn whether or not there are specific re-building requirements for your community.

Building Permits - Necessary After Any Natural Disaster or Structural Damage!

  • Consult local building officials for information and permits when considering new construction or repairs on property affected by flooding, tornados/high winds, fire, winter storms, and/or earthquakes. 
  • 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 no matter what the cause of the damage.
  • 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.

Cleaning Up After a Winter Storm - From Centers for Disease Control (CDC)

When returning home or cleaning up after a winter storm, you can take steps to stay safe and healthy.

Returning Home After a Storm

Take steps to stay safe from carbon monoxide, electrical hazards, food and water safety concerns, and other hazards you might face if you had to leave your home during the storm.

When returning home after a winter storm, you can take steps to stay safe and healthy. To learn more, see Returning Home After a Disaster, which provides tips relevant to all types of disasters.

Clean Up After a Winter Storm

When cleaning up after a winter storm, you can take steps to stay safe and healthy. To learn more, see Clean Up Safely After a Disaster, which provides tips relevant to all types of disasters.

Wildfire - Cleaning Up, Rebuilding, and Other Resources

Flood After Fire Fact Sheet

Wildfire Mitigation Frequently Asked Questions and Resources

After the Fire! Returning to Normal

Rebuilding After a Wildfire Fact Sheet

Ready: Before Wildfire Season - Make a Plan

U.S. Fire Administration Wildfire Safety Outreach Materials

Home Builder's Guide to Construction in Wildfire Zones

Wildfire Hazard Mitigation Handbook for Public Facilities

Cleaning Up After a Flood

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.

More Information on Flood Recovery

Know Your Flood 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.

Important Message for Flood Survivors with Flood Insurance

Please contact your insurance agent immediately

  • 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

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.

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. 

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 of Repairing, Rebuilding, or Re-Locating

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.

If You DON'T Have Flood Insurance

Contact your local Insurance Agent to learn about purchasing flood insurance for structures and contents.

General Flood Publications

Helpful Resources

  • If you are have questions or concerns about your flood insurance claim call:

The National Flood Insurance Program Help Center at: 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or visit: 

www.fema.gov/national-flood-insurance-program-technical-support-hotline

General Flood Publications

Rebuilding Safer and Stronger - After A Flood, Tornado, Winter Storm, or Other Natural Hazard - FEMA Building Sciences Can Help

FEMA has multiple publications with information to help you and communities rebuild to be more resilient and disaster resistant.

Learn how to protect your home or business from floods, earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes and high winds, and manmade disasters (terrorism/bombs):

www.fema.gov/protect-your-property

www.fema.gov/small-business-toolkit/protect-your-property-or-business-disaster

Examples of publications:

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.

Mitigation Planning

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, visit the New Mexico Historic Preservation Division, 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.

Best Practices

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.

Find Help in New Mexico

  • HELP - New Mexico, //www.helpnm.com/, over the past 45 years, HELP-New Mexico, Inc. (HELP-NM), has provided services to over 816,000 individuals and families including migrant families, self-employed farmers and ranchers, low-income families, abused and neglected children, senior citizens, people with disabilities, and disadvantaged youth. These services have included adult education, job training, early childhood development and education, youth development and care, self-help housing construction, rural health clinics, land development, job placement, literacy training, affordable housing, nutritious meals, and family counseling.

Your State Hazard Mitigation Officer, NFIP Coordinator, Earthquake Program Manager, Dam Safety Manager, and Floodplain Management Association contact information may be accessed by clicking on https://www.fema.gov/region-vi-mitigation-partners

 

Region 6 Mitigation Contacts

Region 6 Mitigation Contacts -- to talk to a FEMA Mitigation Specialist

Hazard Mitigation - The Basics

Hazard Mitigation is the effort to reduce loss of life and property by lessening the impact of future disasters by taking action now—before the next disaster—to reduce human and financial consequences later (analyzing risk, reducing risk, insuring against risk).  Effective mitigation requires that we all understand local risks, address the hard choices, and invest in long-term community well-being. Without mitigation actions, we jeopardize our safety, financial security, and self-reliance.

Last Updated: 
11/17/2017 - 17:19