By Kevin Johnson
Not since Noah built the ark has there been this much insider information about flood.
The City of Sultan is hosting a Flood 101 public meeting Tuesday, March 18, from 6-8 p.m. at City Hall, and I’m as excited as a FEMA agent approaching a hurricane to attend!
Okay, maybe excited isn’t the appropriate word, after all it is still flood information. Let’s just say, as an insurance agent, I’m looking forward to this week’s meeting because not only will it help inform the citizens and business owners of our community (which I am both), but even we agents can use a little refresher on flood information, especially since it’s changed quite a bit in the last two years.
Earlier this year, I approached the City of Sultan and Jim McDaniel, an elevation certificate guru from the engineering firm Harmsen & Associates, about putting together a mini-flood class for the residents of our little town. Well, the city took my idea and ran with it, assembling an all-star cast of flood experts to speak to us.
Joining McDaniel will be David Radabaug, a regional floodplain specialist with the Washington Department of Ecology; Karen Wood-McGuiness, a Floodplain Management Specialist from FEMA Region X and Kristin Minich, the National Flood Insurance Program Regional Manager.
The quartet plan on answering questions about floodplains, flood risks, elevation certificates and the community rating system program that went into effect in October, 2013.
Don’t let the job title fool you. I’m not looking forward to this week’s meeting because of the business I’m in. I look forward to it because it means a better understanding of everything that goes into flood insurance – the elevation certificate, the flood zone, the community we live in and much more – not just for me as an insurance agent, but for me as a homeowner in downtown Sultan.
Prior to being fortunate enough to work in the city that I live in and support, I commuted to North Seattle. Flood insurance didn’t come across my desk as often as it has in the two years since I’ve been on my own. And as mentioned, there have been a lot of changes in the last two years.
Like most of us who travel over the bridge coming into Sultan, I glanced into the river last week and noticed a nice beach forming in the parking lot of Sportsman Park. In our neck of the woods floods happen. Flood insurance isn’t fun. It’s a separate policy, not attached to your homeowner policy, and is sometimes more expensive than your homeowner policy, which covers the structure of your house and your personal belongings. People cringe when they hear that they will need flood insurance. It can sometimes make or break a real estate deal.
But rest assured that the experts that the City of Sultan have gathered for this week’s meeting will help us understand how flood zones and flood insurance all work.
So don’t be as resistant as a sandbag; come out, ask questions, get answers and prepare to learn about floods.