State, Local Officials Finish Floodplain Management Course in Coordination with FEMA

November 19, 2004

Thirty-two state and local officials responsible for administering local floodplain management programs graduated this week from a floodplain-management training course sponsored by the Georgia Floodplain Management Office in coordination with Region IV of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

The training session was conducted in temporary facilities in College Park, Georgia, currently being used by State and Federal agencies administering Hurricane Ivan and Frances recovery efforts. The course is normally taught at the National Emergency Training Center in Emmitsburg, Maryland, where enrollment is limited to two participants from any one state.

Topics included in the training are the regulatory requirements of the National Flood Insurance Program, concepts of floodplain management, use of flood maps and studies to determine flood risk for properties, flood ordinance administration, and the relationship between floodplain management and flood insurance. Several graduates took the Certified Floodplain Managers exam at the conclusion of the course.

Floodplain management is one of three components of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) managed by the Mitigation Division of FEMA. The other two components are flood hazard mapping and flood insurance.

Nearly 20,000 communities across the United States and its territories participate in the NFIP by adopting and enforcing floodplain management ordinances to reduce future flood damage. In exchange, the NFIP makes Federally backed flood insurance available to homeowners, renters, and business owners in these communities. Community participation in the NFIP is voluntary.

Flood insurance is designed to provide an alternative to disaster assistance to reduce the escalating costs of repairing damage to buildings and their contents caused by floods. Flood damage is reportedly reduced by nearly $1 billion a year through communities implementing sound floodplain management requirements and property owners purchasing flood insurance. Additionally, buildings constructed in compliance with NFIP building standards reportedly suffer approximately 80 percent less damage annually than those not built in compliance. And, every $3 paid in flood insurance claims saves $1 in disaster assistance payments.

Still, 43 jurisdictions in Georgia that contain flood-prone areas do not participate in the National Flood Insurance Program. Residents living in these parts of the state aren’t eligible to purchase flood insurance, and, if they live in a floodplain, they could reportedly be denied some types of federal assistance when the next flood disaster strikes.

Flood insurance is available to any property owner or renter in a community participating in the NFIP. Statewide, 445 communities are enrolled in the program. All areas are susceptible to flooding, although to varying degrees. In fact, nationwide 25 to 30 percent of all flood claims reportedly occur in the low-to-moderate risk areas, or outside the “one-percent-chance floodplain.”

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