What You Need To Know About Flood Recovery

By Shaunda Rauch on August 28, 2013 from Emergency Services Blog via Connect-Bridgeport.com

Today, “Mother Nature” has once again flexed her muscles and reminded us that she has a pretty vicious backhand.  Thankfully, no lives were lost and in counting our blessings that is the greatest blessing of all.

I do have some advice for our homeowners who are in the process of mucking out from the flood …

Two great sites to help you with this process are: 

http://www.ready.gov/floods

http://www.redcross.org/prepare/disaster/flood

Both of these sites have specific information regarding what to do before, during and after a flood event (plus much, much more preparedness and disaster related information).  An excellent guide to help you with your recovery is from the American Red Cross  titled "Repairing Your Flooded Home".  It can be found at:  http://www.redcross.org/images/MEDIA_CustomProductCatalog/m4540081_repairingFloodedHome.pdf

The Red Cross has Disaster Assistance Teams [DAT] in the area conducting damage assessments, identifying needs [clean-up kits, etc.] and canvassing to identify any victims that were not identified during the VIPS Rapid Assessment Survey. If you have damages from the flood this morning, please contact your insurance carrier as well as my office so we can connect you with the DAT teams and log your report in our damage assessment history. You can do this by emailing me at srauch@bridgeportwv.com or calling 842-8200 x252 and leaving a message with your name, address, telephone number, email and a brief description of your damages. Please also include whether or not you have flood insurance in your message/e-mail. 

 

It is important that any resident that had damages due to this flooding, and any future events contact my office so that we may add your damages to our damage assessment totals as well as building a historical database to show repetitive damage/cost-to-benefit for any mitigation grants that might come available. 

 

I’d like to take a moment and explain a little about the process for receiving FEMA Individual Assistance to assist with the costs associated with recovering from a flood.  The damage assessment numbers required in order to receive a Presidential Declaration that will open up the availability to FEMA’s Individual Assistance [IA] Program is extremely difficult to obtain.  Basically, it averages 100 homes with a minimum of 1-foot of water on the first living floor, excluding all basement flooding, garage flooding or flooding of non-permanent residences.  Destroyed and major damages are the numbers we need in order for the request process for the IA funding mechanism to be triggered.  We are continuing to complete rapid and damage assessments to submit just in case our sister jurisdictions that were affected might have more significant damage, but right now I do not have the numbers to make a request to our State Emergency Operations Center requesting that the Governor declare a State of Emergency and petition the President for federal assistance. 

 

That pretty much leaves out-of-pocket expenses and insurance coverage.  Here’s what you should know about that [from Ready.gov]:    

·         Flood losses are not typically covered under renter and homeowner’s insurance policies.
·         FEMA manages the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which makes federally-backed flood insurance available in communities that agree to adopt and enforce floodplain management ordinances to reduce future flood damage.
·         Flood insurance is available in most communities through insurance agents.
·         There is a 30-day waiting period before flood insurance goes into effect, so don’t delay.
·         Flood insurance is available whether the building is in or out of an identified flood-prone area.
What you can do:
·         Find out if your home or business is at risk for flood and educate yourself on the impact a flood could have on you and your family. FEMA's Flood Insurance Study compiled statistical data on river flows, storm tides, hydrologic/hydraulic analyses, and rainfall and topographic surveys to create flood hazard maps that outline your community's different flood risk areas.
·         Talk to your insurance provider about your policy and determine if you need additional coverage.
·         Contact the NFIP. They can help provide a means for property owners to financially protect themselves if additional coverage is required. The NFIP offers flood insurance to homeowners, renters, and business owners if their community participates in the NFIP. To find out more about the NFIP visit www.FloodSmart.gov.

 

Unless you have a policy that covers floods or “Acts of God”, which is underwritten by the National Flood Insurance Program, it is unlikely that your homeowners insurance will cover your damages.  But I strongly recommend that you contact your agent immediately.  It is always best to check and it is important that your agent is aware of your needs so he/she can adjust your policy or help you get the coverage you need.

As always, I am available to answer your questions and provide whatever assistance I can.   The recovery process is always the longest, most expensive and most difficult phase of any disaster event.  Please know that you are not alone ... West Virginia has a long history of being victorious over some pretty severe displays of violent flooding events.  Stay connected, ask questions and get prepared because the next disaster could happen at any time.  


Shaunda Rauch, Director
Bridgeport Department of Emergency Services

srauch@bridgeportwv.com

(304) 842-8200 x252 



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