In Columbia County, the primary threat of flooding results from the ponding of water during heavy storms and the Suwannee and Santa Fe rivers reaching flood stage. You can protect yourself from flood hazards by taking measures to ensure the safety of life and property before, during, and after a flood occurs. Any development in the floodplain requires a building permit according to Article 8 of Columbia County Land Development Regulations. Organize flowerpots and propane tanks to prevent toppling, and check the intensity of block walls and roof tiles. Columbia County Emergency Operations Center (386-719-7530) works with the National Weather Service and the National Hurricane Center to monitor flood and storm threats and advises the community accordingly. Property losses due to flooding are not covered under most standard homeowner's insurance policies. In return, participating communities carry out flood management measures designed to protect life and property from future flooding. There is usually a 30-day waiting period before a flood insurance policy takes effect, so don't wait until a storm threatens before you secure the flood insurance you need. Throughout the country there is a growing interest from property owners to develop practical and cost effective methods for reducing or eliminating exposures to flooding. In all 50 states on coasts, mountains, along rivers, in the desert, in towns, and cities of every size, floods happen.
The NFIP is a federal program established by Congress in 1968 which enables property owners to buy flood insurance at reasonable rates in participating communities.

To find out more about flood insurance for your property and its contents, contact your insurance agent.
Columbia County participates in the Community Rating System (CRS), a part of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which provides a mechanism for reducing flood insurance premiums to reflect what a community does beyond the NFIP's minimum requirements. Every year, flooding causes more property damage in the United States than any other type of natural disaster. We have paper copies of the Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRM) aka: FEMA Flood Maps or digital areal printouts.
The CRS is a voluntary incentive program that rewards community actions that reduce flood risk through discounted flood insurance rates. Floodwaters damage most materials and leave mud, silt and unknown contaminants that promote the growth of mold and mildew. Some flooding can result from overflow of small ditches and streams during significant storm events. While recent construction practices and regulations have made new homes less prone to flooding, many existing structures remain susceptible. When this happens, flooding occurs more frequently and reaches higher elevations, subjecting properties otherwise protected to unnecessary risk of damage.
The walls, floors, closets, shelves, contents, and any other flooded parts of your home should be thoroughly washed and disinfected. When a storm or flood threatens to impact the County, County staff monitors the event relying on information from various officials and the National Weather Service for detailed and site specific information regarding storm conditions and flood threats.

Homeowners, business owners, and renters all can buy flood insurance, as long as their community participates in the NFIP. If you file a flood insurance claim, you may request an advance partial payment for your immediate needs. Copies of Elevation Certificates for all buildings constructed in the floodplain since June, 2004 are available in the Building and Zoning Department. Take your time to rebuild correctly and make improvements that will protect your building from damage by the next flood. Several effective ways include acquisition and relocation of a building to a site not subject to flooding, construction of floodwalls or berms to keep water away from the property, or retrofitting structures to make them flood proof. Retrofitting is a different approach from the other ways because the property itself remains subject to flooding while the building is modified to prevent or minimize flooding of habitable space. PROPERTY PROTECTION MEASURESEvery year, flooding causes more property damage in the United States than any other type of natural disaster. County floods of record have occurred in 1928, 1948, 1959, 1964, 1973, 1984, 1986, 1991, and 1998.

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