Flood response efforts resulting in discounts to Gilbert homeowners

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The federal agency that runs the nation’s flood insurance program is dropping policy premium rates in Gilbert’s 100-year floodplain by 5%, town officials said.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency, through its Community Rating System, has determined that improvements in the town’s flood plan warranted the deduction.

The affected area, known as Special Flood Hazard Area, is mainly on the eastern side of railroad and town embankments because of how the town’s terrain slopes.

“We’ve been putting enough things in place as far as improving our alert and warning to the public, our communication with the public and in planning in ahead to get ahead of the storms, rather than just being in a reactive mode,” Gilbert Emergency Management Coordinator Pete Weaver said.

The additional 5% takes the discount homeowners in the area receive from 10% to 15%. The town also could be in line for another 5% reduction in the near future from a flood response plan that was put together after FEMA’s last audit of Gilbert, Weaver said.

Weaver said the town has accumulated data from previous large floods in the area in 2005-06 and 2014 to “work smarter” in preventing flood damage.

“We know what to anticipate where we can get out there ahead of time and put up barricades so people aren’t driving into the flooded areas,” he said. “And [it]will allow us to, ahead of time, check and clean the drainage so that stuff doesn’t pond back and debris plug in flood areas. It ultimately reduces impacts on life and property in a positive manner.”

More information on the program or the town’s floodplain management is available at www.gilbertaz.gov/floodzone.

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Tom Blodgett
Raised in Arizona, Tom Blodgett has spent 30 years in journalism in Arizona and is the editor of the Gilbert edition of Community Impact Newspaper. He is a graduate of Arizona State University, where he now serves as an instructional professional in the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication and editorial adviser to The State Press, the university's independent student media outlet.
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