The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) awarded Baltimore its highest Class 5 flood preparedness rating. Who’s excited? About 3,000 Baltimore business owners and residents because their flood insurance premiums will drop up to 25 percent going forward. Better building codes, public education and improved infrastructure means that flooding will wreak less damage on buildings located in flood hazard areas.
Baltimore is the largest East Coast city to have earned the Class 5 rating. In Maryland, only Baltimore City and Prince George’s County have been awarded the top FEMA flood preparedness rating.
To better prepare for flooding – Hurricane Isabel caused nearly $5 million in flooding damages – Baltimore established a Flooding Program for Public Information. The program’s goal is to identify, prepare, implement and monitor public information activities related to the floodplain and flood mitigation. Made up of residents, insurance agents, bankers, state insurance administration and local contractors, the group of stakeholders has helped Baltimore improve the floodplain web site and outreach efforts about updated building codes, regulations, programs and flooding education.
Baltimore building code requires building owners in floodplain areas to move electrical, mechanical and plumbing systems above the minimum height required by FEMA. Baltimore has also purchased properties that continually flood.