Dear Fellow Houstonians,
March 15-19, was National Flood Safety Awareness Week. With the 2010 hurricane season soon upon us, I would like to encourage all Houstonians to consider buying flood insurance and to register for transportation assistance.
As our city continues to recover from Hurricane Ike less than 2 years ago, now is the time to take the proper steps to protect your home and property. Even if you do not live in a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) identified by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), flood insurance is a low cost option to protect your property. According to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), on average, 25% to 35% of flood insurance claims come from low-to-moderate risk areas (areas not in the mapped floodplain). This statistic was supported by losses that resulted from the heavy rain storm here in April 2009.
In October 2009, the City of Houston improved its Community Rating from a Class 6 to a Class 5. This is a great achievement for the residents of the City of Houston. For homeowners living in the SFHA, discounts ranging from 10% to 25% will be given on flood insurance premiums at renewal time depending upon your specific location. For properties outside of the SFHA, Preferred Risk Policies will still be available at very affordable rates.
For more information, see the FEMA web site, http://www.FEMA.gov, call the City of Houston Floodplain Management Office at 713-535-7666, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact your local flood insurance agent. Remember, although flood insurance may be purchased throughout the year, there is a 30-day waiting period before coverage begins. Contact your local NFIP office www.floodsmart.gov regarding possible exceptions to insurance coverage.
Finally, the City of Houston encourages those members of our community who do not have access to transportation, and may need special transportation assistance during an emergency evacuation, to pre-register with the City of Houston's Office of Emergency Management (OEM). Note that all persons who have registered in previous years must re-register for assistance in 2010. Each year on January 1, the city's registration database is completely cleared. To register, go to www.houstonoem.net under the tab, "Transportation Assistance", contact the OEM at 713-884-4500 or dial 2-1-1, the Texas/United Way Helpline.