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.

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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55 votes
57 up votes
2 down votes
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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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52 votes
59 up votes
7 down votes
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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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59 votes
61 up votes
2 down votes
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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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32 votes
36 up votes
4 down votes
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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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36 votes
36 up votes
0 down votes
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(@communitymember5)

Community Engagement & Risk Communication

Contracting Support for Outreach and Engagement

There are a lot of companies and organizations that have excellent relationships with their communities and have innovative and proven community engagement practices. What mechanisms does FEMA have to access these smaller private and non-profit entities and what capacity/processes does FEMA have/need to disseminate 'best practices' in an appropriate manner?

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18 votes
21 up votes
3 down votes
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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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23 votes
24 up votes
1 down votes
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(@okiedokie)

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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26 votes
29 up votes
3 down votes
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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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25 votes
28 up votes
3 down votes
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Community Engagement & Risk Communication

Contracting mechanism for engagement and mitigation action

There are several posts/comments stating that FEMA should change their contracting mechanism in order to better engage with communities and spur meaningful action (i.e. contract with small/local businesses/partners/agencies instead of including these services in the PTS scope for projects). Before making such a change, perhaps the fundamental question is this: What is the reason for the failure of communities or citizens ...more »

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20 votes
22 up votes
2 down votes
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(@cynthia.wirz)

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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26 votes
26 up votes
0 down votes
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Community Engagement & Risk Communication

FEMA Region Field Offices

To enhance and elevate community engagement, one idea would be to have FEMA Regional staff representatives (engineers and planners, not just State floodplain coordinators) designated to staff and serve in Region field offices. A FEMA Region field office would place community engagement and outreach resources into a better local position to work with communities. These local field staff resources could operate more effectivley ...more »

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17 votes
26 up votes
9 down votes
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Community Engagement & Risk Communication

Volunteerism: Engaging Others to Communicate Flood Risk

A number of non-profit organizations exist that have the infrastructure and capacity (and following) to help FEMA engage communities in the process of identifying and addressing flood risk. Research has shown that people like to hear important messages from local resources as opposed to the Federal government. Consideration should be given to identify and “train” these organizations to help carry the flood risk reduction/mitigation ...more »

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22 votes
22 up votes
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Community Engagement & Risk Communication

An Integrated Online Outreach Approach

Using an integrated outreach approach that combines online processes with opportunities for face-to-face engagement will give FEMA the opportunity to communicate with communities and keep them more informed about risk reduction strategies. By using the internet to connect with communities throughout a Risk MAP study, FEMA may be able to better understand the needs of the community and determine if there is a need for ...more »

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18 votes
19 up votes
1 down votes
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