Community Engagement & Risk Communication

Community Engagement and Risk Communication through Risk MAP is vital for the future success of the program in working with communities to be aware and understand their risk and taking actions that reduce those risks to create more resilient communities. Community Engagement brings together the right to understand the community, their needs and capabilities, and provides opportunities where FEMA can help them towards advancing the actions that reduce their risks.

FEMA is considering incorporating community engagement and consultation when working with communities to better understand what they need in order to implement risk reduction and provide flood maps where there is a true need. Tell us how we could successfully accomplish this and who might be involved to help facilitate the community engagement as well as potential contract structures to best support these efforts.

Campaign: Community Engagement & Risk Communication

Local Knowledge is Essential for Community Engagement

Local Knowledge and History is so important for community engagement. Before anyone conducts a public meeting, they should know and have studied the flood history of the watershed.

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Campaign: Community Engagement & Risk Communication

Improving Community Engagement - Lead by Example

To improve community engagement and risk communication, we need to lead by example (monkey see monkey do methodology): Perform research showing communities with higher standards and mitigation plans have reduced flood losses. Showcase how higher standards can be developed and implemented in community codes and ordinances; mitigation plans, projects and actions; and required by state law as documented in ASFPM's ...more »

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Campaign: Community Engagement & Risk Communication

Web Map Viewer

One giant step forward FEMA could take on the public outreach side is to follow what many communites across the nation have already done and create a user-friendly flood map viewer that could be used. Once created, these tools could be used at public outreach meetings to engage the community and talk about their risk. Some State examples include: Maryland - http://www.mdfloodmaps.com West Virginia - http://www.mapwv.gov/flood/ ...more »

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Campaign: Community Engagement & Risk Communication

Utilize Local Contractors to Support Discovery

Clarify the Purpose of Discovery with communities at the beginning of the process. One idea is to utilize qualified local contractors, with staff that are familiar with the communities, the local flood risk issues, and historical / technical mapping issues for Discovery Meetings. There would be a higher potential for real input on flooding and mitigation issues and more “buy-in” from the communities as far as moving ...more »

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Campaign: Community Engagement & Risk Communication

One Size Doesn’t Fit All

With the impending impacts that will be felt as a result of Biggert-Waters, “selling” the importance of flood hazard maps (to achieve reduced flood insurance rates as part of the NFIP) will become harder and harder. Redirecting the added value message of Risk MAP towards the other benefits that it can accomplish (such as using the data for mitigation planning) is a step in the right direction. However, we need to make ...more »

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Campaign: Community Engagement & Risk Communication

Discovery and Resilience Meetings

FEMA-contractor led Discovery and Resilience meetings that we've attended have been disappointingly directionless and unproductive. Truly effective Discovery and mitigation planning requires a boots-on-the-ground understanding of the communities in the watershed and establishment of relevant relationships with local entities. Providing guidance and resources to, working in concert with and leveraging State contacts and ...more »

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Campaign: Community Engagement & Risk Communication

Communication At Every Level

1) Education and engagement needs to begin with internal staff - FEMA's Response, Recovery and External Affairs Divisions should be well versed in Mitigation so at any given time they can assist community leaders, media, and congressional leaders to identify risk and take action. 2) Flood Insurance is part of resilience and so should be talked about at every step in the process. Even if there is not a new map, impacts ...more »

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Campaign: Community Engagement & Risk Communication

Help get state mitigation offices involved

State mitigation staff are trusted in the community and have great promise to help with community engagement and risk communication; however, they have little capacity to do so. Most state mitigation programs exist by pulling management costs from existing mitigaiton grant programs and as a result almost all effort is to ensure that those programs are implemented. Why can't FEMA, as either part of a CTP or through PDM ...more »

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Campaign: Community Engagement & Risk Communication

The Power of the Younger Generation

An important target group that FEMA should consider focusing on is high school and college-aged students. A number of outreach and education programs exist that are geared towards children, however, this age group could benefit by learning more about flood risk, and what steps can be taken to address it. Not only will this age group become homeowners in relatively short order, they also are in a position to be making ...more »

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Campaign: Community Engagement & Risk Communication

User-friendly Flood Risk Application

Showing draft preliminary maps on the MSC is a great new functionality that was recently released, but it’s still very difficult for a homeowner to locate themselves and for communities to determine which map panel to view. The MSC viewer that creates FIRMettes for effective data can help a homeowner or community identify approximate locations in relation to risk; however, for planning purposes, it would be great to be ...more »

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Campaign: Community Engagement & Risk Communication

Effective Community Engagement

A fundamental challenge of the Risk MAP program is to transform quality hazard information into actionable intelligence that communities can use to inform mitigation actions and build resilience. That “intel” must be part and parcel of the community engagement and risk communication approach in order to impact community decision making. As HUD Secretary Donovan’s Senate testimony regarding the Sandy recovery effort ...more »

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Lets not forget tools already in the toolbox

I have to wonder if we are leveraging the community engagement that is already built into the mitigation planning process. As part of the mitigation planning process, there is a required group participating in not only the plan development but also helping in maintaining plans. Why aren't we better tying the mapping update process to this existing element? Then it becomes mutually reinforcing - lending value and visibility ...more »

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