‘Buy flood insurance’: FEMA specialists share advice about preparing for natural disasters

‘Buy flood insurance’: FEMA specialists share advice about preparing for natural disasters

LELAND, NC (WECT) - About 25 people gathered in Leland for a workshop put on by FEMA to provide strategies to lessen the impact of natural disasters.

FEMA supervisors, FEMA individual assistance specialists, FEMA community education outreach specialists, FEMA mapping services staff, the National Flood Insurance Program representatives, and HOPE counseling services were on hand at the informal event.

“The best advice that I give and I think that we can provide is everybody who doesn’t have flood insurance should buy flood insurance," said Jerry Frye, FEMA hazard mitigation program group supervisor for floodplain management and insurance. "People who have flood insurance recover faster than those that do not.”

After a short introduction, the workshop continued in a casual format where residents could speak 1-on-1 with experts to get questions answered.

Frye said everybody should have flood insurance, not only people who live in areas that flood frequently.

“Everyone who lives in an area where it rains should probably have flood insurance simply because these storms are becoming more and more frequent, and becoming more and more severe,” said Frye. “So it’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when, especially in a coastal region like the coast of North Carolina.”

Frye also recommended that people who live in special flood hazard areas follow the requirements for an elevation certificate. If your home or property suffered substantial damage, Frye advises you to make sure your structure is in code compliance.

“Those properties that reside outside the special flood hazard area, it’s just a matter of, what they can do?" he said. "I’m riding up and down the roads. I’m seeing a lot of slab-on-grade. Even though they’re elevated slabs, they’re not elevated high enough.”

Other strategies include flood vents, anything that allows water to flow in and out, or elevating on piers, posts, and pilings.

“There’s no way you can flood-proof a home,” said Frye.

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