Kansas City Water Services participates in FEMA’s Community Rating System (CRS) Program. This is good news for customers. The objective of the CRS is to reward communities that are doing more than meeting the minimum National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) requirements to help their residents prevent or reduce flood losses. The CRS also provides an incentive for communities to initiate new flood mitigation activities.
The Community Rating System can reduce the cost of Flood Insurance to the community by up to 45 percent. Kansas City, Mo., is currently a Class 7 Community which reduces flood insurance 15 percent within our City limits.
To gain such reductions in insurance premiums a Community must document that it does or has done more than the NFIP requires to:
- Reduce flood losses,
- Protect public health and safety,
- Reduce damage to buildings and contents,
- Prevent increases in flood damage from new construction,
- Reduce the risk of erosion damage,
- Protect natural and beneficial floodplain functions,
- Facilitate accurate insurance ratings, and
- Promote the awareness of flood insurance.
To see our latest Annual Progress Report for Floodplain Management Planning from the City’s Multi Hazard Plan, go to: Annual Floodplain Management Plan Progress Report.
What you should know:
1. Almost any property can have flood risks, but every property within Kansas City, Mo., can obtain flood insurance. Consider flood insurance for both the structure and its contents. Check the severity of flooding near your home by entering your address at: Search Hazard Zone
You can obtain flood insurance here.
Or contact your current agent to discuss flood insurance options.
2. FEMA floodplains generally stop at one square mile in drainage area size. In the City of Kansas City, Mo., this means 25 percent of the lands have no regulatory floodplain. Remember any stream near a structure can threaten that structure. Near to a stream is a horizontal and vertical concern. You could be far away… and flooded.
3. Even with no nearby streams, flooding can happen. The slope of the land may be all it takes. Go to your front, side and backyard and look at the lands slope. Does the land slope away from your structure on all sides? The more area that drains toward your structure, especially from multiple directions, the more potential for flood concerns, even if not within a floodplain. Follow the low paths that water may follow in heavier rains. How much water can be taken on before it reaches the basement, a door, or a window? Can water enter the basement through cracks?
Learn more at: Reducing Damage from Localized Flooding
4. Consider purchasing flood insurance. Use the following link to learn where flood insurance can be obtained and consider purchasing foundation insurance, as well.
5. Flood insurance is not foundation insurance. Both are needed, if water may be acting on your basement. Consider a foundation rider. Flood insurance can be purchased for the structure, the contents within the structure, or both. Consider purchasing both.
6. Does the grading around your home move in a direction away from your foundation? If not, consider how you might alter the land to do this within 10 or more feet of the foundation. Make sure your downspouts drain at least 10 feet from your foundation, even with good grading away from the home.
Severe rains are rare and unpredictable. They can occur in any spring, summer, fall or even some winter conditions.
7. The lowest elevation in your home or basement is the most likely path that surface waters will take. If you have basement flooding, consider methods of elevating utilities and other assets to reduce flood risk and costs. Additionally, sanitary systems can pressurize in severe rain events and backflow into structures. If you have this issue a backflow preventer is the best solution for sanitary backflow. Learn more at: Protecting Building Utilities From Flood Damage
Although, you may not have experienced flooding within the last 10, 15 or 50 years, there may still be a chance of flooding happening today or tomorrow. Check the risks before you purchase your home. Living within a floodplain is a flood risk that may cause damage.
Flood Safety Tips:
- Do not drive through a flooded area. Do not drive around barriers.
- Do not walk through flowing water.
- Stay away from power lines and electrical wires. If your home is in/near a flooded area, turn off the power at the service box. Electrical currents can travel through water.
- Be alert to gas leaks. Turn off the gas to your home before it floods. If you smell gas, call 911. Do not use candles, lanterns, or open flames if you smell gas or are unsure if your gas has been shut off.
- Keep children away from flood waters, ditches, culverts, and storm drains. Flood waters can carry unimaginable items that may have dislodged themselves.
- Clean everything that has gotten wet. Flood water may be contaminated with sewage and other chemicals which pose severe health threats.
- Look out for animals, especially snakes. Small animals that have been flooded out of their home may seek shelter in yours.
- Do not use gas engines, such as generators, or charcoal fires indoors during power outages. Carbon monoxide exhaust can pose serious health hazards.
Floodplain Permit Requirements:
All development within the 100 year floodplain (not just construction of buildings, but filling, excavation, fences, etc.) requires an approved Development Permit from the City of Kansas City, Mo., City Planning and Development Department. Applications must be made prior to doing any work in a floodplain area. Violations may require complete restoration and fines. Please contact one of the Codes Building Inspectors to receive all the information you will need in order to properly develop within the floodplain at 816-513-0375. Use this telephone number to report any illegal development activities, as well.
Information on whether your property is in the 100-year floodplain (an area where flooding has a one percent chance of occurring each year), can be obtained at the City Planning and Development Department. Maps are available to review as well as other flood-related information. The City’s Planning and Development Department, Codes Administration Division also has Elevation Certificates for new developments available. Contact the City Planning and Development Codes Administration Division at 311 or 816-513-1313 for further assistance.
The National Flood Insurance Program requires that if the cost of improvements to a building or the cost to repair damages (from any cause) to a building exceeds 50 percent of the market value of the building (excluding land value), the entire building must be brought up to current floodplain management standards. Building improvement projects include exterior and interior remodeling, rehabilitation, additions, and repair and reconstruction projects. Additionally, the cost of currently planned improvements will be added to the cost of previously made improvements and compared to the existing market value to determine if the improvements exceed 50 percent of the structure’s value.
If you do not have flood insurance, talk with your insurance agent. Most homeowner’s insurance policies do not cover damage from floods.
Be sure to check your policy to ensure you have adequate coverage. Usually these policies cover the building’s structure, but not the contents. You can get both, just ask. There is a 30-day waiting period before flood insurance coverage becomes effective. Plan ahead; do not wait until a flood is predicted before purchasing flood insurance.
If you are building inside a floodplain, the purchase of flood insurance is mandatory if using a federally regulated/insured bank for a loan.
Natural and Beneficial Functions:
Floodplains play a valuable role in providing natural and beneficial functions to the area around, and including Kansas City, Mo. Floodplains that are relatively undisturbed provide a wide range of benefits to both human and natural systems. These benefits provide aesthetic pleasure as well as function to provide active processes such as filtering nutrients.
Floodplains enhance waterfowl, fish, and other wildlife habitats and provide feeding/breeding grounds. They also provide natural erosion control and open space to further reduce flooding damage. Kansas City, Mo., has a powerful Stream Buffer Ordinance, if you see clearing of stream areas or lowlands near them, contact the City Planning and Development Department at 816-513-1500 or firstname.lastname@example.org sharing location information and images if available. Learn more at: Protecting Floodplain Resources
Drainage System Maintenance:
As simple as it may sound, keeping smaller ditches and streams free of debris can dramatically improve the run-off capacity of low-lying areas, as well as, greatly reduce the occurrence of blockage that significantly contributes to flooding. It is illegal to dump materials into a required waterway and violators may be fined. If you see someone in the act of dumping or see debris in one of our watercourses, please report it with the Action Center by dialing 311 or 816-513-1313.
Flood Warning System:
You can monitor rainfall and streams at www.stormwatch.com for the entire Metropolitan area. Consider obtaining a weather radio and tune into the National Weather Service Advisories as these include the flood warning systems information with better details on damage and timing. You will also see regular interruptions on local radio and television stations advising you of risks. Always remember that you may be the first to notice flooding and have only minutes to execute a plan of action. Never enter water, life is the highest priority, get those with you to higher ground without crossing water and call 911.
To find out if your home or rental is in a hazard zone or to check FEMA’s Map Store Portal: Search Hazard Zone
To use the Metropolitan Areas flood warning sites: Storm Watch
To find Flood Insurance Providers near you: Agent Locator
For critical information and facts on flooding: Flood Smart
What is the cost of flooding your home? Flood Risks
Critical information on elevating your home: Above the Flood: Elevating your Floodprone House and Elevated Residential Structures
Dealing with localized flooding: Reducing Damage from Localized Flooding
Protecting Utilities from Flooding: Protecting Building Utilities from Flood Damage
Protecting Manufactured Homes: Protecting Manufactured Homes from Floods and Other Hazards
Questions about the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP)?: Answers to Questions about the National Flood Insurance Program and National Flood Insurance Program