Determining Your Home’s Risk Level During a Flood
When a major storm hits your neighborhood, the results can be devastating. For those living in a flood zone in West Falmouth,ME, the risk of serious or total loss of your home and possessions is significantly higher. The Federal Emergency Management Agency has mapped out these areas, since your home’s location will help determine whether you need flood insurance and how much assistance FEMA will provide.
Understanding Flood Risk Levels
FEMA has built an ever-evolving map, called the Flood Insurance Rate Map, that allows homeowners to easily see whether they live in a flood zone. There are three main designations in which your home can fall:
- Special Flood Hazard Area: Homes in this area have a 1 percent chance of flooding in any given year, often referred to as the 100-year flood
- Moderate flood hazard area: Often more inland, homes in this area have a 0.2 percent chance of flooding, known as the 500-year flood
- Minimal flood hazard: Those homes located in higher elevations are considered unlikely, though not impossible, to fall victim to floods with a probability higher than 0.2 percent
Note that the 100-year and 500-year flood designations do not indicate that these types of storms are expected to only happen once every 100 or 500 years. While unlikely, they can happen multiple times a year, but the designation comes from the probability that flooding will occur in any given year, so a 1-in-a-100 and a 0.2-in-a-500 chance, respectively.
Where To Determine Your Risk Level
The FIRM mentioned above can be found on the FEMA website. Here you will be able to input your address and easily see the flood zone in which your home is located. This site also has valuable information, including insight on obtaining flood insurance, which you will need when you begin the flood cleanup and restoration process.
Knowing the risks associated with your home’s location will allow you to have a plan of action ready in the event of a major flood, which will help you get your home, and your life, back to normal more quickly.