High and Dry - January 2019 Print

January 2019

and The

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Save the Date

UFSMA 2019 (October 22-25) Save the Date:

Utah Floodplain & Stormwater Management Conference)
Please save the date for UFSMA 2019. We will be bck in ST George
this year. Our conference hotel is the Courtyard by Marriott. Please
be watching for registration information, which will be coming soon.

Learn More

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Mitigation Practice

Flooding is the nation’s number one natural disaster, and it can occur inland, along the coast, and across every region of the country. Even though you may think your community has little or no risk of flooding, the reality is that anywhere it rains, it can flood. In fact, roughly 25 per-cent of all flood insurance claims are filed in low-to-moderate flood-risk areas. It is important to keep in mind that the risk of flooding isn’t based only on your community’s history, but on a variety of factors like rainfall, topography, river-flow and tidal-surge data, and changes re-sulting from new construction in your community. Those all play a part in what actual flood risk you face.

There are steps that you can take to prepare yourself and mitigate against damages. The first thing you can do is know your risk. Next, you should create an emergency communications plan and build an emergency kit to ensure you and your family are prepared for a flood. As part of having a plan, we also encourage you to consider your coverage. A flood insurance policy can protect your home, property, or business from the financial damages of flooding. Most homeowner’s insurance does not cover damage from flooding, so visit FloodSmart.gov to learn more.

In addition to these steps, there are also small flood proofing measures that you can take to help prevent, or minimize the impact of flooding to your home and its contents. A few examples include:

  • Elevate your furnace, water heater and electric panel in your home, if you live in a high flood risk area.

  • Install "check valves" to prevent flood water from backing up into the drains of your home.

  • When practical, homeowners can construct barriers (such as sand-bagging) to stop floodwater from entering your home.

  • Seal walls in your basement with waterproofing compounds.

Homeowners around the nation have taken proactive measures, like these, to reduce their risk of damage from flooding. Proactive commu-nities work on mitigating strategies through a combination of flood control projects and good floodplain management activities. In addi-tion, FEMA hazard mitigation grants across the country have helped homeowners and communities affected by flooding, prevent future damages.

To learn about flood risks in your area and for information on flood in-surance, visit www.floodsmart.gov. For more information on flood pre-paredness tips and ways you can protect your family before, during and after a flood visit www.ready.gov/floods. (fema.gov)

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by Kathy Holder

This March is Utah Flood Awareness Month

This March is Utah’s Flood Awareness month. It is heart break-ing to go out to our Utah communities when citizens have had damages and losses from flood. In most cases the citizens have to pay out of their own pocket for the repairs and dam-aged/lost items. Many did not know they could mitigate this risk with flood insurance. There are many misconceptions about flood insurance. Here are some simple facts:

  • We have 220 communities that participate in the NFIP in Utah.

  • Anyone in any area of those communities can purchase NFIP flood insurance.

  • If they are not in a FEMA Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA). It is much less expensive and available to them.

  • In most of our recent flooding over the past 3 years. The larger share of homes and business affected by Utah flooding were outside that SFHA.

  • Any Insurance agent that is willing to write a flood policy can do so.

  • Homeowners Insurance does not cover flood.

Please join in the campaign to help our citizens become more aware of there flood risks, and how to mitigate those risks. My office will be sending out materials for you to share with your communities. Let me know how and where you use these awareness aids. We will also be launching a Utah specific PR campaign. Please watch for the ads and tell me, if and when you see them? My hope is to see Utah citizens mitigate there flood risk.

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Upcoming Utah NFIP Trainings

NFIP Substantial Improvement/Substantial Damage -February 5, 2019– IN SLC

Register on Eventbrite https://www.eventbrite.com/o/utah-floodplain-program-fema-and-ufsma-17193208851

Flood Insurance Agents Workshop with the State Insurance Commissioner and State Floodplain Manager – March 26, 2019 –SLC

NFIP and International Building Codes (Reducing Flood Losses Through Better Building Practices)- April 2019– In SLC

NFIP 101 and CFM Exam - May 2019– In SLC

UFSMA October 22-25 2019– In ST George

NFIP 101 and CFM Exam October 22, 2019-In ST George

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Upcoming Mitigations Courses EMI

Full EMI Schedule: https://training.fema.gov/emicourses/schedules.aspx
Catalog of available courses: https://www.firstrespondertraining.gov/frt/npccatalog/EMI

Feb 4 – 7, 2019

E0284 Advanced Floodplain Management Concepts III

Floodway Standards (1 day).

Disconnects between NFIP Regulations and Insurance (1 day).

Common Noncompliance Issues (½ day)

Digital Flood Insurance Rate Maps (DFIRMs) (½ day).

Substantial Improvement/Substantial Damage (1 day).

Mar 18 – 21, 2019

E0273 Managing Floodplain Development thru the NFIP

Mar 25 – 28, 2019

E0278 NFIP/Community Rating System

May 6 – 9, 2019

E0212 HMA: Developing Quality Application Elements

May 13 – 16, 2019

E0279 Retrofitting Floodprone Residential Buildings

Jun 17- 20, 2019

E0273 Managing Floodplain Development thru the NFIP

Jun 17- 20, 2019

E0172 Hazus-MH for Flood

Jul 29 – Aug 1, 2019

E0213 HMA: Application Review and Evaluation +

E0214 HMA: Project Implement and Programmatic


Jul 15 – 18, 2019

E0282 Advanced Floodplain Management Concepts II

Higher Standards in Floodplain Management (1 day).

Manufactured Homes and RV’s in the Floodplain (1 day).

NFIP Flood Insurance Principles for the Floodplain Manager (1 day).

Hydrology and Hydraulics for the FPM (1day).

Aug 26 – 29, 2019

E0273 Managing Floodplain Development thru the NFIP

Sep 23 – 26, 2019

E0312 Fundamentals of Building Science

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Utah Risk MAP Corner



Utah Risk MAP Corner


What is a flood map and why does it change?

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) works with community leaders across the country to identify flood hazards and promote ways to reduce the impact of those and other hazards. Flood maps are used for floodplain management, flood insurance rating, and flood insurance requirements. Flood maps generally show a community’s flood zones, regulatory requirements for the elevation or flood-proofing of structures, and floodplain boundaries; together they show the risk of flooding. High-risk zones, known as Special Flood Hazard Areas or SFHAs, show where floodwaters will be in a flood that has a one per-cent chance of happening in any given year. Moderate- to low-risk zones are where the risk of that level of flooding is less than one percent per year. No matter where you live or work, some risk of flooding exists. Flood hazards change over time. How water flows and drains can change by new land use and community development or by natural forces such as changing weather, terrain changes, or wildfires. To better reflect the current flood risk condi-tions, FEMA uses the latest technology to update and issue new flood maps nationwide to aid communities, property owners, and other stakeholders in taking steps to address flood risks.

How are flood maps used?

Community officials use flood maps to help them understand and communicate the local flood risk, manage their floodplains, and require new and substantially-improved buildings to be built more safely and mitigate losses from future floods. These efforts make a safer com-munity in which to live and work. Mortgage lenders use them to help determine a property’s flood risk and decide whether to require flood insurance as a requirement for a loan. Insur-ance professionals use the maps to determine a property’s flood risk and insurance cost. Developers and builders use them as part of their location siting and construction decisions. Residents and business owners use flood maps to learn about flood risk as they purchase property and investigate how best, financially and tangibly, to protect their property from flooding.

How do flood maps show flood risk?

Flood maps show the different flood zones. Moderate-to low-risk areas are labeled Zone X (or Zones B and C on older maps). High-risk areas begin with the letters A or V. Areas where the risk is not known are shown with the letter D. Base Flood Elevations (BFEs) dis-played on flood maps show the lowest height that floodwaters can be expected to reach dur-ing a major flood and that participating NFIP communities must consider in making flood-plain management decisions.

How is the risk shown on the flood maps reflected in insurance premiums?

If your building is in a high-risk area, you are likely to pay a higher flood insurance premium than someone in a moderate- to low-risk area. The exact amount you pay is based on sev-eral things, including the flood zone and elevation of the building. In a high-risk area, your insurance premium may also depend on when your building was built compared to the date of the community’s first flood map. Some buildings built before the community’s first flood map, called pre-flood map, are eligible for discounted rates.

How can I reduce my rates?

If you find you will have to pay a higher premium for flood insurance, you can take these steps to help reduce the cost:

  • Mitigate. Lowering your property’s exposure to flooding may make you eligible for lower premium rates. For example, you can fill in a basement or install flood vents in the crawlspace beneath the lowest level of your building; these actions help reduce the chance that your building’s foundation will be damaged during a flood and may lower your insurance premium. When remodeling or rebuilding, you can consider elevating your entire structure. Also, something as simple as raising heating and cooling systems, water heaters, the electrical panel, and other mechanical items so that they are less like-ly to be damaged or destroyed in a flood may offer some premium savings. Talk to your local floodplain administrator or review FEMA’s Homeowner’s Guide to Retrofitting at fema.gov/homeowners-guide-retrofitting.

  • Encourage community action. You can encourage your community to participate in the Community Rating Service (CRS), if it doesn’t already. CRS is a voluntary incentive pro-gram that recognizes communities for implementing floodplain management practices that exceed the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) minimum requirements. In exchange for a community’s proactive efforts to reduce flood risk, policyholders can re-ceive reduced flood insurance premiums. For more information, visit fema.gov/national-flood-insurance-program-communityrating-system.

  • Apply for a Letter of Map Change (LOMC). Flood maps are developed at a mapping scale that is useful for community officials, lenders, and insurance professionals, but not every rise in terrain can be depicted at this scale. If you think your building is incorrectly depicted as being in a high-risk area, FEMA has a process that allows property owners to request an official flood zone determination.

  • This process includes the Letter of Map Amendment (LOMAs). A LO-MA can be requested if a property is depicted as being in a high-risk flood zone but is actually on naturally high ground. For more infor-mation, visit fema.gov/letter-map-changes.

  • Consider a higher deductible. Just as with automobile or homeowners insurance, increasing your deductible— the amount you pay out of your pocket to cover a claim before coverage is applied—will lower your premium. Selecting the maximum deductible of $10,000 will re-sult in up to a 40 percent discount from the base premium. However, using the maximum deductible might not be appropriate in every fi-nancial circumstance, and some lenders might not allow that option for meeting the mandatory purchase requirements.

Where can I learn more?

If a mapping project is occurring in your community, stay in contact with your local floodplain administrator to learn when and where changes are occurring. When a preliminary flood map is released, that map and the current flood map will be available online at msc.fema.gov/portal. To hear about ways to reduce your insurance premium— such as grandfathering, choosing a higher deductible, mitigating the risk, or the newly mapped rating option—ask your insurance agent or community officials to deter-mine what may be most effective in your situation. To learn more about flood insurance, talk to your insurance agent or visit FloodSmart.gov. To speak with a flood map specialist, contact the FEMA Map Information eX-change (FMIX) at 877-FEMA-MAP (877-336-2627).

If you have any questions please Jamie Huff, can be reached by phone at 801-538-3752 or by email at [email protected]

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Silver Jackets

US Army Corps of Engineers, Sacramento District

Written by: Hunter Merritt, SPK Silver Jacket Deputy

On January 8, team members from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Utah Division of Emergency Management met to discuss next steps with a statewide Flood Risk Education and Outreach project. This initiative, supported by Utah's State Hazard Mitigation Team (which doubles as the state's Silver Jackets team), aims to increase public awareness of and promote individual actions to reduce flood risk.

Opportunities identified by the team included interagency support for the annual Prepared-ness on the Hill event, which will occur during Utah's Flood Awareness Month in March; sharing knowledge and materials with Utah DEM to support the Be Ready Utah mobile ap-plication; and engaging in conversation with developers of the future Disaster Discovery Center to identify hands-on learning activities that focus on flood risk. Other partners ex-pressed interest in workshops for professionals and support at events such as the Great ShakeOut in April.

The project will last 12-18 months, and during this time, the team encourages all agencies and communities who have interest in flood risk awareness materials or support to please contact Wade Mathews at Be Ready Utah or Elise Jarrett at the U.S. Army Corps of Engi-neers for more information.

In the week of 07 January, Mr. Hunter Merritt and Ms. Elise Jarrett attended meetings with the Utah Division of Emergency Management and other Utah partners to kick off the Silver Jackets FY19 Utah Flood Risk Education Project. Mr. Merritt presented on Silver Jackets to more than 60 emergency response professionals at the monthly State Emer-gency Response Team meeting, and shared success from past initiatives as well as a view forward on FY20 proposals for the state.

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Newsletter Contacts

Kathy Holder, State Floodplain Manager
[email protected]

Jamie Huff, State Riskmap Program Manager
[email protected]

UFSMA President, Randy Wahlen
[email protected]

Newsletter Editor : Utah Floodplain Program

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