PHILADELPHIA – Building coalitions, like a bridge, can bring people together, overcome obstacles, and connect communities. They can also help save lives. To help Lackawanna communities understand their flood risk and how to better protect themselves, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) partnered with state and local officials to form the Lackawanna County Flood Risk Coalition (the Coalition). The Coalition will help residents adopt a proactive approach to mitigate against future natural disasters and increase the county’s long-term resilience. The Coalition will make its local debut hosting a booth at the 42nd Annual La Festa Italiana in Scranton, Pennsylvania on September 1, 2018.
As a part of FEMA’s Risk Mapping, Assessment, and Planning program, Lackawanna County is due to receive updated Flood Insurance Rate Maps in 2019. The Coalition wants to communicate map changes in advance and support local mitigation actions to reduce risk.
“Understanding where flooding issues could take place and how to prepare for their impacts is vitally important for all Lackawanna County citizens,” said Steve Pitoniak, Coalition member and transportation planning manager at the Lackawanna County Department of Planning and Economic Development. “Knowledge is power, and the Coalition is striving to present information to the public in a timely and easily understood manner.”
The Coalition is comprised of 13 individuals from nine organizations at city, county, and state levels representing floodplain management, insurance, community and economic development, community relations, planning, local preservation and conservation.
At the Coalition’s booth at La Festa Italiana, event attendees can participate in IMMERSED, a virtual reality experience on flood risk and mitigation, and record their stories about flooding and resilience in Lackawanna County. “We work with our partners every day to communicate risk, and with new maps forthcoming, it gives us an opportunity to talk to communities about their specific flood risk,” said FEMA Region III Regional Administrator MaryAnn Tierney. “We all have a role to play in reducing risk, and our work with the Coalition is one example of how FEMA works in close partnership with communities.” Coalition members and staff from FEMA will be onsite to share information about Lackawanna County’s flood risk, upcoming map changes, and actions residents can take to reduce risk from flooding and to and protect their property and their community.
“We know many homeowners are concerned about protecting their homes from flooding but may not know the best way to shop for flood insurance coverage,” said David J. Buono, Jr., Consumer Liaison for the Pennsylvania Insurance Department. “The Coalition is spreading the word about the importance of flood insurance and connecting residents to resources showing the different options available across the state.”
The Lackawanna County Flood Risk Coalition meets quarterly to advance community outreach about flooding and looks forward to collaborating with other local partners in the future.
About the Lackawanna County Flood Risk Coalition
The Lackawanna County Flood Risk Coalition is a network of individuals united by a shared commitment to encourage Lackawanna County residents to understand their flood risk, adopt a proactive approach to address and mitigate against future natural disasters, and increase the county’s long-term resilience. Many structures in Lackawanna County are at a high risk of flooding, and property owners can look toward the Coalition to connect them with resources that will assist with insurance, risk reduction, and emergency planning in the community. Coalition representation includes the following agencies and organizations:
- Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency
- Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development
- Pennsylvania Insurance Department
- Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection
- Lackawanna County Community Relations
- Lackawanna County Emergency Management Agency
- Lackawanna County Department of Planning and Economic Development
- Lackawanna Heritage Valley Association
- Lackawanna River Conservation Association
About FEMA Region III
FEMA’s mission is helping people before, during, and after disasters. FEMA Region III’s jurisdiction includes Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia. Learn more about FEMA Region III at www.FEMA.gov or www.FEMA.gov/region-iii. Stay informed of FEMA’s activities online: videos and podcasts are available at fema.gov/medialibrary and youtube.com/fema. Follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/femaregion3.
About Flood Insurance
To learn more about flood insurance, visit www.floodsmart.gov to learn about the federal government-run National Flood Insurance Program, as well as private insurance options available in Pennsylvania at www.insurance.pa.gov.