Know your flood hazard to understand how to protect your property by doing research and staying knowledgeable
Why do I have to protect my property from flooding if I don’t live near a body of water?
You don’t have to live near a body of water to experience a flood! Any area that receives rain can also flood. FEMA’s FloodSmart site defines a flood as, “a general or temporary condition where two or more acres of normally dry land or two or more properties are inundated by water or mudflow.” Flooding in our area can be caused by heavy rains from rain events including hurricanes and tropical storms, improper and independent drainage systems, and new development.
There are many ways you can protect your home, garage or other property from flooding. Different techniques are appropriate for different building types. Examples of these building types and techniques are below:
|House with crawl space||Look into barriers and wet flood proofing
Check out barriers and dry flood proofing
Learn about barriers, wet flood proofing and basement protection.
|House on a slab foundation|
|House with basement, split level, or other floor below ground level|
It is important to note that these protection measures are for existing buildings. There are different requirements for new buildings and any interested party can contact our office at (205)-254-2479 to request this information. These measures will not relieve you from the need to buy flood insurance if your building is in a mapped floodplain.
Additional information is available from FEMA publications, including the Homeowner’s Guide to Retrofitting: Six Ways to Protect your House from Flooding. Another good publication is Protecting Building Utilities from Flood Damage. These references can be found by following this link. The Birmingham Public Library located at 2100 Park Pl Birmingham, AL 35203 and also features the publications listed below.
- Above the Flood: Elevating Your Floodprone House, FEMA-347 (2000)
- Answers to Questions About the National Flood Insurance Program, F-084 (2011)
- Elevated Residential Structures, FEMA-54 (1984)
- Protecting Manufactured Homes from Floods and Other Hazards, FEMA P-85 (2009)
- Mitigation of Flood and Erosion Damage to Residential Buildings in Coastal Areas, FEMA-257 (1994)
- Protecting Building Utilities From Flood Damage, FEMA-P-348 (1999)
- Protecting floodplain Resources, FEMA-268 (1996)
- Reducing Damage from Localized Flooding, FEMA 511 (2005)
Emergency floodproofing includes techniques that can be initiated on relatively short notice using stored and/or natural materials to prevent flooding. To find out more about emergency floodproofing measures, please click to read what FEMA says about Floodproofing.
Birmingham’s Repetitive Loss Properties
A Repetitive Loss (RL) property is any insurable building for which two or more claims of more than $1,000 were paid by the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) within any rolling ten-year period, since 1978. Currently, there are over 122,000 RL properties nationwide which may or may not be currently insured by the NFIP. Repetitive loss properties are structures that flood frequently, strain the National Flood Insurance Fund and are the biggest draw on the Fund. Furthermore, FEMA has paid almost $3.5 billion dollars in claims for RL properties thus continuously draining funds needed to respond to catastrophic events and increasing the NFIP’s annual loss.
As of 2016, the City of Birmingham, a category C Community has a total of 75 repetitive loss properties. A category C Community is a community with 10 or more unmitigated repetitive loss properties. In the past, the City of Birmingham has aggressively mitigated several repetitively loss properties and non-repetitively loss properties through acquisition/relocation, demolition and flood control.
In order to mitigate this issue, The City of Birmingham’s Floodplain Management and Disaster Mitigation Services Program is working towards conducting a Repetitive Loss Area Analysis. The RLAA will benefit the City by examining potential mitigation measures for specific repetitive loss areas and increasing its credit in the CRS Program. If you own a structure that is located in a dedicated repetitive loss area, please expect the following:
- A letter stating that the analysis is being or will be conducted with a survey requesting the owners input on their hazard and desired actions;
- Agencies and organizations with plans or studies that may impact or cause flooding;
- A Qualified Professional will visit each building to collect basic property data:
- The RLAA Planning Team will review information and data collected and alternative approaches to property protection to determine feasibility;
- Findings will be documented and a separate analysis report will be prepared for each area.
If you are a business or homeowner, you need clear information about the options that are available to reduce flood damage to your home and straightforward guidance on selecting the option that is best for you. Quite often this is a difficult task. The link below will direct you to a publication that will provide knowledge of flood protection methods/building construction techniques. It is important to take action to avoid repetitive flood damage to your house. This book provides damage-reduction methods that are available, the degree to which they work, how much they cost and whether they meet your needs. To find out more information on retrofitting please, click on the link below.
This information is designed to give you an overview of steps that can be taken to protect a property from damage from the type of surface water flooding and sewer backup that faces Birmingham. The information provided is based on careful research and input from experienced professionals. You must assume responsibility for adapting this information to fit your conditions. This guide is not intended to replace the advice and consultation of a hired professional.