As part of the 2015 update to the county’s Local Mitigation Strategy, officials and stakeholders are identifying local hazards and ways to keep their impact at a minimum. Planning for the inevitable and taking action before the hazard strikes makes our community safer and more resilient; mitigation projects can even mean long-term cost-savings for residents. Nassau County Emergency Management is using the 2015 Local Mitigation Strategy (LMS) planning process to document flooding issues throughout the county, suggest improvements, and support the county’s application for inclusion in the National Flood Insurance Program’s (NFIP) Community Rating System (CRS).
The NFIP was created in 1968 to help property owners protect themselves financially since standard homeowners’ insurance doesn't cover flood damage from tropical storms, hurricanes, or even heavy rains. In order to qualify for flood insurance, the home or business must be in a community that has joined the program and agreed to enforce sound floodplain management standards. Homes in mapped “high-risk” flood areas have at least a 25% chance of flooding, but anyone can be financially vulnerable to floods. In fact, a third of all flood damage claims are made by residents outside of high-risk areas.
Flood insurance program rates are set nationally based on age of the structure, building materials, and level of risk. Communities that voluntarily agree to adopt and enforce stricter ordinances to reduce flood risk can enroll in the CRS and earn insurance premium discounts for their residents. In Nassau County only the City of Fernandina Beach currently participates in the CRS flood mitigation program. However, the County is working diligently on obtaining the necessary requirements to become part of the program. FEMA has scheduled a Community Assessment Visit for April 2015 to meet with County Officials and to help the County obtain that goal.
Community Rating System “credit point” activities fall into four categories (Public Information, Mapping and Regulation, Flood Damage Reduction, and Flood Preparedness) and include collecting data and developing new maps, preserving open space, regulating development, improving drainage, protecting flood-prone buildings, and implementing public awareness and education programs. Based on total credit points earned, communities are assigned a CRS classification from nine (500-999 points) to one (>4500 points) which determines the premium discount, from 5% up to 45%, that will be applied to each flood insurance policy in the jurisdiction.
Get involved! You can learn more about hazard mitigation and influence local preparedness and damage reduction activities while improving Nassau County’s CRS classification. Make plans to attend the 2015 LMS & CRS Kick-Off at the Nassau County EOC on March 10th. Program experts will be on hand to explain the mitigation process and ways you can contribute to our five-year strategy to create safer and more resilient homes and neighborhoods.
- Martha L. Wagaman, NCEM Senior Planner
Nassau County Emergency Management