Community Participation in the FEMA FIS Process: A New Way to Go

by Lisa Vomero Inouye,
Adnan Saad,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: WRPMD'99: Preparing for the 21st Century


(No paper) As an experienced FEMA Study Contractor (SC), there are numerous items of interest that the community could participate in to facilitate the Flood Insurance Study (FIS) process. We believe if the community can be involved early, they could provide assistance in streamlining the total process time down from roughly 3 to 5 years currently, to only 1 to 1.5 years in the future. There are five (5) parties that are involved in the completion of a flood insurance study. The parties are: (1) FEMA Regional Office, (2) The Community, (3) The Study Contractor, (4) The Technical Evaluation Contractor, and (5) FEMA Headquarters. If we all approach the challenges with an open mind and are willing to implement changes, we can achieve this goal together. The following outline illustrates some of the problems inherited when performing flood insurance studies: 1. The Overall Study Process is Long and Involved; 2. Scope of Work Not Defined Prior to Contract Award When it Should Be Specific; 3. Lack of Coordination between FEMA Regional Office and the Community; 4. Lack of Coordination between the Study Contractor and Community; 5. Lack of Coordination between FEMA Regional Office and the Study Contractor; 6. Lack of Coordination between the Technical Evaluation Contractor and the Community; 7. Conflict Between What FEMA and the Local Community Want/Expect; 8. Adequate Base Maps not available; 9. Aerial Mapping not available; 10. Zone AO: Shallow Sheet Flow Flooding From 1 to 3 Feet; 11. Zone A: Un-numbered Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA); 12. Usefulness of the Flood Insurance Study (FIS) Report; 13. Lack of Pertinent Easy to Understand Data in the Final FIS Text; and 14. Problems Related to Appeals and Resolutions. The time is now to make changes and prepare for the next millennium! It is time that the FIS process is streamlined in order to produce a cost effective, useable mapping tool for the Community that they were meant to assist.

Subject Headings: Floods | Federal government | Contracts and subcontracts | Insurance | Mapping | Sheet flow | Public opinion and participation

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