DENTON, TEXAS — The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is presenting preliminary Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) to communities and unincorporated areas in Desha County, Ark. The FIRMs will help county officials and local residents identify known flood risks and will be used for insurance and development decisions.
Preliminary maps revise and update information on the existence and severity of flood hazards in every community in Desha County as well as unincorporated areas. They are based on detailed ground elevation models, decades of rainfall and storm gauge information and current topographic data.
Residents, business owners and property owners who believe the flood maps contain errors have from now until July 13, 2010 to appeal by submitting scientific or technical information. Appeals are submitted through communities to FEMA. Once all appeals are resolved, FEMA will notify communities, insurance companies and residents of the effective date of the final maps.
"Flooding is the most common disaster in the U.S. and I urge Desha County residents to look at the preliminary maps and be familiar with flood risks in their community," said Tony Russell, FEMA regional administrator. "These maps can help residents make informed decisions about flood insurance and flood protection."
FEMA encourages residents to contact their local floodplain administrator to determine if they will be impacted by map changes. Floodplain administrators in each community have copies of the maps available for public viewing. Map information is available atwww.fema.gov/plan/prevent/fhm/bfe.
Home and business owners who purchase flood insurance prior to the effective date of the new maps may be able to grandfather the current flood zone, thereby saving money on flood insurance. Home and business owners should talk with their local insurance agent to discuss their options. More information on flood insurance is available at www.floodsmart.gov.
When the flood maps are finalized and effective, some flood insurance policy holders may see changes in their policies. Russell recommends that all policyholders contact their insurance agent or company to ensure that they have adequate coverage and that policies account for new flood risk information. More information on flood insurance is available at www.floodsmart.gov.
FEMA’s mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.