Division of Water (DOW) officials were among those present at the Dec. 10 unveiling of one of 14 signs that will identify high-water marks throughout the city of Frankfort. The “Be Aware: Know Your Line” program, which is being sponsored by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) as part of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), is the first of its kind in the nation. It is designed to commemorate the community’s flooding history and raise public awareness of the probability and dangers of flooding.
The droning beat of a steady rain provided a fitting background as Deron Rambo welcomed visitors to the event held at Frankfort’s Paul Sawyier Library. Rambo is director of the Frankfort/Franklin County Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security.
“Now, this is a good rain,” observed Rambo. “It’s slow and steady and spread out over several days. It’s when it comes hard and fast over a short period of time that we’re more likely to see the Kentucky River overflow its banks. The time to prepare for these flood events is before they occur.”
Rambo emphasized the importance of the protections provided by NFIP, of which Frankfort and Franklin County are members. In Kentucky, the program is coordinated through the DOW.
“Federal flood insurance through the NFIP is designed to provide an alternative to disaster assistance and disaster loans,” said Jory Becker, manager of DOW’s Surface Water Permits Branch. “It is intended to reduce future flood damage through local floodplain management ordinances and to have people who live at risk help pay for their recovery through an insurance mechanism. Another important objective is to break the cycle of flood damage by encouraging communities to guide development to lower-risk areas and by imposing construction elevation requirements.”
The NFIP also encourages member communities to perform education and outreach to the public concerning flood preparedness.
“I hope that when people see these high-water marks, they will spend a minute to consider how a major flood could impact our community,” said Rambo. “Whether it’s making a plan, making a disaster kit, or even simple things such as putting valuable information in waterproof containers, there are low-cost ways to reduce the amount of destruction floods can cause.”