General Hazard Awareness

Following are some ideas of ways to notify community residents about hazards and flood insurance (for materials to distribute, see sources for outreach materials). Local officials should increase their public information efforts after destructive storms when lessons are readily apparent (known as a “teachable moment”). The folks over at the NOAA Coastal Services Center recently released a two-page summary of risk communication specifically for those working in coastal hazards that’s worth considering as you plan how to best spread your message.

Some of the possible outreach techniques include:

  • Creating and distributing a coastal hazard newsletter to your citizens (either everybody, or only those in the flood or erosion-hazard zones).
  • Collecting or preparing fact sheets and case studies.
  • Holding special events like “flood awareness week.”
  • Holding workshops for and/or with nonprofit organizations, professional associations, or the general public.
  • Placing brochures in libraries, building supply outlets, convenience stores, or neighborhood hardware stores.
  • Mailing notices to property owners in potentially hazard-prone areas or to everyone in the community (e.g., with tax or utility bills) after a disaster to help introduce the idea of flood proofing and to identify sources of assistance.
  • Locating displays with take-home materials in public buildings or shopping malls.
  • Regularly writing articles for daily or weekly newspapers or free newsletters.
  • Printing special sections in a newspaper.
  • Offering presentations or workshops to neighborhood, civic, or business groups.
  • Placing information on community, agency, company, or association websites.

Many of these ideas are eligible for reducing your community’s insurance rates through the Federal Emergency Management Agency Community Rating System (CRS) credit.

* Your community needs only 500 points to qualify for reduced flood insurance premiums through the Community Rating System (CRS). For more information (including how to apply for the CRS program), see our Community Rating System (CRS) primer.

Notes from the folks at CRS:

“Credit is provided for advising people of the flood hazard, the availability of flood insurance and/or flood protection methods.”