Understanding Your Flood Risk
What is Risk?
Risk is a combination of the likelihood that something will happen and the consequences when it does. For instance, a high likelihood with little consequence may have low risk.
example: seasonal flooding of undeveloped wetlands.
A low likelihood with extreme consequences may have high risk.
example: overtopping of a levee that protects a city from up to the 500-year flood.
*The Special Flood Hazard Area has a 1% or greater chance of flooding in any year. On average floodwaters will get high enough to flood this area once in every 100 years. It is known as the 100-year floodplain. A 100-year flood can occur more than once in a 100-year period. Refer to the FEMA Flood Insurance Study and Flood Insurance Rate Map for your community to help determine your flood risk.
Are you as safe as you'd like to be?
If you are within the FEMA Special Flood Hazard Area (100-year floodplain) you may also be at risk of damage from smaller, more frequent floods. If you are outside of the FEMA Special Flood Hazard Area you are still at risk from larger, less frequent floods.
Things to Consider
You don't need to be next to a stream or river to be flooded. Flood waters can extend hundreds or thousands of feet from the nearest open watercourse, either overland or through backup of storm or sanitary sewers. Even shallow depths of floodwaters can cause damage in the thousands of dollars.
What are the Consequences of Flooding?
FEMA file photo
FEMA file photo
Floods may disrupt your life for days, weeks, or months. Your home or business could be uninhabitable for an extended period of time. On average 25% of businesses damaged by flooding will not reopen. Homeowners insurance does not pay for flood damage, and federal disaster assistance is only available following a Presidential Disaster Declaration. Most disaster assistance is in the form of low interest loans.
Anyone can buy flood insurance for your home or business, no matter what your flood risk, as long as your community participates in the National Flood Insurance Program. Consider the consequences before writing off flood insurance as too expensive. Can you afford to not be covered?
If your lender requires flood insurance it is only for your structure. Purchase additional coverage to cover your contents. Plan ahead. Except when newly purchasing a home or business there is a 30 day waiting period before flood insurance policies go into effect.
How Can You Reduce Your Risk?
Reduce your risk either by reducing the likelihood you will be flooded or by reducing the consequences when you get flooded.
Reducing Your Likelihood of Flooding
• Choose to build/live on higher ground.
• Elevate the lowest floor of your building above anticipated flood levels.
• Construct dams or detention basins to hold stormwater run-off.
• Construct levees to hold back flood waters.
Note: Dams and levees are costly to build and maintain. They also create additional risk from failure or overtopping that did not exist without the dam or levee.
Reducing the Consequence of Flooding
• Elevate utilities, appliances, and contents above anticipated flood levels.
• Purchase flood insurance to cover damages from flooding.
• Construct your home/building using flood resistant materials and methods.
• Have an emergency plan in place before the flood starts.
"There are risks and costs to a program of action. But they are far less than the long-range risks and costs of comfortable inaction." President John F. Kennedy
For additional information please contact:
ODNR, Division of Soil and Water Resources
Floodplain Management Program
2045 Morse Road, Bldg. B
Columbus, Ohio 43229-6693
Voice: (614) 265-6750 FAX: (614) 265-6767