Agencies say it's important to have flood insurance

The City of Milford, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) are partnering to improve public awareness for National Flood Safety Awareness.

The city's goal is to improve understanding about flood risk among individuals, families, businesses and communities. Knowledge and the right precautions can protect families, homes and finances, officials said.

"We've seen the devastation that floods can cause. They can happen at any time, anywhere across our region, which means we all need to be prepared now," said FEMA Region III Administrator MaryAnn Tierney. "Having a flood insurance policy for your home or business is just one way to prepare; there are also simple steps you can take now to be prepared for flooding such as developing a family emergency plan, having an emergency supply kit ready to go, and learning about your flood risk."

The ability to buy flood insurance may become more difficult, however, According to the New Haven Register, "Nearly 1,100 homes in Milford and hundreds more in other shoreline communities will be subject to increases of at least 18 percent a year in flood insurance rates, according to a law signed Friday by President Barack Obama."

Still, authorities press the need for the coverage, saying that floods are the most common hazard in the United States.

"However, not all floods are alike," according to experts. "Floods typically occur when too much rain falls or snow melts too quickly. Chunks of ice from a thawing river can block its normal flow and force water out of its banks.

While some floods develop slowly, flash floods develop suddenly. Hurricanes can bring flooding to areas far inland from where they first hit the coast, as we witnessed two years ago from the devastating impacts of Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee, and last year from Hurricane Sandy.

“There are simple steps citizens can take today to reduce their risk to all types of floods,” officials stated in a press release. “Be aware of flood hazards no matter where you live or work, but especially if you are in low-lying areas, near water, be aware of flood hazards no matter where you live or work, but especially if you are in low-lying areas, near water.”

Flood-hazard maps have been created to show the flood risk for the community, which helps determine the type of flood insurance coverage people will need since standard homeowners insurance doesn't cover flooding. The lower the degree of risk of flooding, the lower the flood insurance premium should be.