City asking residents how to save lives, property during floods

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(Courtesy of Virginia Beach City Government Facebook)

(Courtesy of Virginia Beach City Government Facebook)

Virginia Beach wants to know how to reduce fatalities and injuries during floods, storms and other dangers.

The City took to social media yesterday, asking residents to help it become less susceptible to natural disasters and other hazards. The city posted a link on its Facebook page to an August 2016 working draft of the Hampton Roads Hazard Mitigation Plan and survey by the Hampton Roads Planning District Commission. The commission’s Emergency Management Department is updating its Hazard Mitigation Plan and seeking input from residents of Hampton Roads communities through a survey and comments. Among other questions, the study asks residents to select what they believe to be the highest threat to their community, like floods, tornadoes, sinkholes and storms.

“As described in detail in the Hazard Identification and Analysis section, the NCDC [National Climatic Data Center] has records for 87 significant flood events in the past 20 years (1995 to 2015) for the region, amounting to approximately $130 million in reported property damage,”  the draft plan stated.

Virginia Beach areas most susceptible to flooding, according to the city, can be found on a map here. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) documented six areas in the city that have experienced one or more claims for flood damages. This includes 18,939 buildings.

The estimated replacement value for Virginia Beach’s assets is more than $55 billion, according to data in the plan.

The survey is intended to inform an updated plan that will go into effect this year. It covers whether or not residents are insured for flooding and whether they have participated in hazard resistance efforts in their neighborhoods. It also asks residents to note the most effective form of communication, including options such TV, radio, mail, email and phone.

The survey and August working draft will remain open until Aug. 17, the city said on Facebook. Once completed, the multi-jurisdictional plan will be presented to each community’s government for adoption. It will then be submitted to the Virginia Division of Emergency Management and FEMA for review and approval. Updating the plan helps ensure the availability of disaster assistance and mitigation funds, according to the survey.

The link to the survey is here.

Separately, Gov. Terry McAuliffe today announced $2.7 million in federal Local Emergency Management Performance Grants to help localities respond to emergencies. Virginia Beach City is slated to receive $102,914 in grant funds under the program, according to a release from the governor’s office. The Virginia Department of Emergency Management will administer the funds, which come from the Emergency Management Performance Grant program for fiscal year 2016, the release said. Virginia gets these funds every year from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

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City asking residents how to save lives, property during floods