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Flood safety awareness week is on, time to prepare
Floods are the most frequent and costly natural disaster in the United States. Flood effects can be local, impacting a neighborhood or community, or very large, affecting entire river basins and multiple states.
With many communities throughout the region facing threats of spring flooding, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the National Weather Service (NWS) are once again joining forces to observe Flood Safety Awareness Week beginning March 12.
"It is important that we take steps now to prepare for the impact floods could have on our homes, our businesses, and our communities," said FEMA Region X Regional Administrator Ken Murphy. "We are encouraging individuals and families to take a few simple steps to protect themselves and their properties. These include learning about their risk of flooding, having an emergency preparedness kit, storing important documents in a safe place, and purchasing flood insurance."
Important tips for getting ready for a flood and cleaning up afterwards can be found at www.ready.gov (click "Preparation and Recovery").
Flood losses are not typically covered by standard homeowner's insurance policies. However, flood insurance is available to property owners in communities participating in FEMA's National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). The NFIP makes flood insurance available to renters, homeowners, and business owners through thousands of insurance agents located in nearly 21,000 communities around the nation. Flood coverage can be purchased for properties both in and outside of the highest risk areas but should be considered regardless of where you live. Over 20 percent of all flood insurance claims come from moderate-to-low-risk areas.
The average cost of a policy in a floodplain is less than $600 a year, but Preferred Risk Policies outside of floodplains are much lower. Individuals can learn more about flood insurance at FloodSmart.gov or by calling 1-800-427-2419. Most policies take 30 days to go into effect, so it's important to act now.