July Key Message: Flood Risk Still Exists! You have Options if you live in a Repetitive Loss or Flood-Prone Area

Once considered the most flood-prone city in America, Tulsa has worked hard to reduce or eliminate flooding of its homes and neighborhoods. Nonetheless, flood risk still exists!

The City joined the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) in 1974 and through decades of effort is now recognized as a national leader in flood hazard mitigation. As a result, property owners in Tulsa receive as much as 40% discount on their flood insurance.

A key component of the NFIP has been its focus on Repetitive Loss Properties, which make up only 1 percent of insured properties, but account for over 30 percent of flood insurance claims payments. A Repetitive Loss Property is defined by FEMA as any property that has been paid two or more flood insurance claims of $1,000 or more in a 10-year time period.

The NFIP recently expanded its flood hazard mitigation program to include the identification of “Repetitive Loss Areas” (RLA)—those properties near an existing Repetitive Loss Property that are subject to the same general flooding conditions. In most instances, 95% of the properties in an RLA will never have experienced flooding—especially if the cause of damage is shallow, overland flow due to local drainage conditions. This does not mean the property has flooded or is even likely to flood—only that it is in the same area, and in a similar geographical situation, as an existing Repetitive Loss Property.
The first step is identifying whether you live in a repetitive loss or flood-prone area. The City is required to contact the owners and residents of an RLA annually and, working together, develop a plan to reduce or eliminate flooding in their neighborhood. The city also has information about other flood-prone areas of the city.

You have options if you live in a repetitive loss or flood-prone area.

If you do live in a flood-prone area or RLA, City of Tulsa staff are available to provide one-on-one technical assistance, including site visits, to homeowners on structural / non-structural flood protection and mitigation measures, including flood insurance. They can also to discuss available financial assistance. Some possible individual property options may include the following:
• Landscaping such as French drains, berms or bioswales, so long as it doesn’t divert the water to another property;
• Clearing of nearby creeks and storm drains (Storm Drains are for Rain!);
• Correcting sewer backup problems;
• Buying flood insurance; and
• In some cases, property acquisition by the City of Tulsa.

If you want to find out about whether you live in an RLA or a flood prone area, or receive technical assistance, please contact the City of Tulsa by calling the Customer Care Center at 311 (in Tulsa) or (918) 596-7777.

In partnership with the City of Tulsa, the Disaster Resilience Network shares these monthly key messages from the Program for Public Information (PPI) as part of the National Flood Insurance Program – Community Rating System. This outreach assists our community in keeping low flood insurance rates. Tulsa property owners and renters are eligible to receive up to a 40 percent discount on flood insurance rates.

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July Hazard of the Month: Lightning

Lightning – When Thunder Roars, Go indoors!

What’s all the noise about? Thunder’s roar is caused by the shock wave in the air near a lightning bolt. Lightning is the most constant and widespread threat to people and property during the thunderstorm season. Oklahoma has the 6th highest flash density rating of the 48 contiguous states. Because Oklahoma has frequent storms, lightning is a constant and widespread threat during thunderstorm season, peaking during the summer months.

Who is at risk and what happens next? Anyone out-of-doors during a thunderstorm is exposed to and at risk from lightning. More people are killed by lightning strikes while participating in some form of recreation than any other activity. The next largest group of fatalities involves people located under trees, then those near bodies of water. Survivors of lightning strikes can suffer serious long-term effects, which include memory loss, attention deficits, sleep disturbance, numbness, dizziness, and stiffness in joints, irritability, fatigue, weakness, muscle spasms, depression, and an inability to sit for long periods.

What about protecting electronics? Lightning strikes can cause high-voltage power surges that can damage property, especially electronics and equipment in homes or businesses. Surge protection should be included in any electronic system to minimize the risk of damage from lightning.

Are we safe if the clouds are miles away? Lightning can go between clouds, in the same cloud, or cloud to ground. Some cloud to ground lightning is so powerful that it can strike 10 miles out from the rain column. People die from lightning strikes under a clear sky ahead of the storm because they wait until the last minute to seek shelter. These flashes are even more dangerous because there is no precipitation to put out any fire they cause. All lightning can cause damage.

Lightning Safety: What You Need to Know (Source: NOAA)
NO PLACE outside is safe when thunderstorms are in the area!!
• If you hear thunder, lightning is close enough to strike you.
• When you hear thunder, immediately move to safe shelter: a substantial building with electricity or plumbing or an enclosed, metal-topped vehicle with windows up.
• Stay in safe shelter at least 30 minutes after you hear the last sound of thunder.

Indoor Lightning Safety
• Stay off corded phones, computers and other electrical equipment that put you in direct contact with electricity.
• Avoid plumbing, including sinks, baths and faucets.
• Stay away from windows and doors, and stay off porches.
• Do not lie on concrete floors or lean against concrete walls.

Last Resort, Outdoor Risk-Reduction Tips
If you are caught outside with no safe shelter anywhere nearby the following actions may reduce your risk:
• Immediately get off elevated areas such as hills, mountain ridges or peaks
• Never lie flat on the ground, shelter under an isolated tree, or use a cliff or rocky overhang for shelter
• Immediately get out and away from ponds, lakes and other bodies of water
• Stay away from objects that conduct electricity (barbed wire fences, power lines, windmills, etc.)

For more information, visit http://www.lightningsafety.noaa.gov/

The Disaster Resilience Network is providing these hazards of the month in conjunction with the City of Tulsa’s Storm Water Drainage and Hazard Mitigation Advisory Board. These hazards are identified in the 2014 City of Tulsa Multi-Hazard Mitigation Plan.

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June Key Message: Get A Building Permit When Constructing in Flood-Prone Areas

Building permits ensure safe construction in Tulsa’s flood-prone areas.

The City of Tulsa’s permitting process is designed to ensure that new construction and substantial improvement projects are reasonably safe from flooding. A permit is required for all new construction and for most repair projects located in the floodplain to ensure that the proposed development meets the requirements of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and the City’s adopted building codes. Before you begin construction or add on to your existing building, find out which permits are required by contacting the Development Services Permit Center at (918) 596-9456 or online at https://www.cityoftulsa.org/permitting

Buildings in the floodplain are valuable investments and must be protected from flood damage. To help protect your home, Tulsa’s building code requires that all new residential buildings be elevated at least one (1) foot above the regulatory floodplain elevation. Non-residential buildings may be elevated or dry floodproofed a minimum of one (1) foot above the regulatory floodplain elevation.

Property owners planning substantial improvements to existing buildings should contact the Permit Center for assistance with the appropriate building permits. Elevation or floodproofing may be required if you are planning to construct a substantial improvement such as a new addition or a remodel. When the cost of the improvement or add-on is 50 percent or more of the market value of the existing building, the project may meet the substantial improvement development requirements.

Permits also are required for building repair for anything more than just cleanup after a storm. If your property is substantially damaged (where the cost of restoring the building to its previous condition is 50 percent or more of the market value of the building), federal regulations may require you to elevate or floodproof before you can rebuild or begin repair work.

Even if you’re not constructing a building, a watershed development permit must be obtained from the City of Tulsa before commencing any grading, filling, or excavation in the floodplain. Activities outside of the floodplain but within a natural or constructed watercourse may also require a permit.

In addition to regular building permits, special regulations apply to construction within the floodway portion of the floodplain. No construction, including filling, is allowed in the floodway without an engineering analysis that shows the proposed project will not increase flood levels and cause damages elsewhere.

To find out if your property is located in the floodplain, contact the City’s Customer Care Center at 311 (in Tulsa) or (918) 596-7777 with the address, parcel and legal description of your property and a free flood zone determination will be sent to you. Additionally, detailed floodplain boundary maps are available for you to view at Tulsa-area libraries, and City Hall, 175 E. 2nd St., 4th floor – Permit Center or online at https://www.cityoftulsa.org/government/departments/engineering-services/flood-control/floodplain-map-atlas/

To report illegal floodplain development or to verify that proper construction permits have been issued for a project, contact the City’s Customer Care Center at 311 (in Tulsa) or (918) 596-7777. An inspector will establish a case to investigate the complaint.

In partnership with the City of Tulsa, the Disaster Resilience Network shares these monthly key messages from the Program for Public Information as part of the National Flood Insurance Program – Community Rating System. This outreach assists our community in keeping low flood insurance rates. Tulsa property owners and renters are eligible to receive up to a 40 percent discount on flood insurance rates.

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June Hazard of the Month: Extreme Heat


High temperatures and high humidity make summers in Oklahoma dangerous for many. When it’s also dry, dust storms and drought can make matters worse. From 1981 to 2010, the City of Tulsa averaged 10 – 15 days per year with temperatures over 100°F.

Do you remember the summer of 2011? Oklahoma experienced its hottest summer on record in 2011, with 42 days of temperatures above 100º F and three consecutive days with 110º F. Nationally, the summer of 2011 was the hottest since the Dust Bowl. Extreme heat can result in muscle cramps, nausea, heat exhaustion, heat stroke, and death. Outdoor high ozone levels can also be dangerous for those with breathing difficulties. Heat has consistently caused more deaths than other hazards.

Medical Health Alerts and Heat Advisories
EMSA in Tulsa will issue a Medical Health Alert based on demand for emergency medical care when the number of response to heat related incidents reaches five responses per twenty-four hour period (12:00 a.m. to 12:00 a.m.)

The National Weather Service (NWS) in Tulsa will issue a Heat Advisory when forecasting heat index values of 105F to 109F and/or temperatures of 103F or 104F. The National Weather Service (NWS) in Tulsa will issue an Excessive Head Warning when forecasting heat index values at or above 110F and/or temperatures at or above 105F. (Overnight low temperatures are no longer a consideration for issuing excessive heat warnings.) An Excessive Heat Watch will be issued ahead of a heat event when/if it becomes apparent that there is a good chance of warning conditions developing in the coming days.

The dangers of extreme heat affect some groups more than others. Individuals over the age of 65 AND below the poverty line are at the greatest risk of loss of life due to extreme heat conditions. High risk populations who need extra care and support include:
• Individuals 65 years and older
• Infants
• Socially isolated individuals
• Mentally & mobility challenged individuals
• Obese individuals
• Individuals under the influence of alcohol or medications
• Individuals and families living below the poverty line
• Outdoor workers

How can you be safe? The Community Service Council and Oklahoma 2-1-1 have these suggestions for you:
• Dress Right (loose-fitting, light weight, light colored clothes, and a wide-brimmed hat)
• Keep Heat Outside & Cool Air Inside (use reflectors, shades, sheets or curtains in windows)
• Drink Water Before & During Exercise (drink before you feel thirsty – and not alcohol/caffeine)
• Don’t use Salt Tablets (unless under doctor’s orders)
• Eat Small Meals & Eat More Often (use less body heat to digest food)
• If you don’t have air conditioning, find a cool place during the warmest part of the day (cooling station locations are listed
here: https://cityoftulsa.org/press-room/heat-alert-cooling-stations-and-tips-for-staying-healthy/ )

For health & safety tips and help regarding extreme heat, dial 211 or visit www.211oklahoma.org or see the National Weather Service at http://www.nws.noaa.gov/om/heat/index.shtml. You can also contact EMSA (911 for ambulance, or www.emsaonline.com/mediacenter/emsaonline.cfm ). For information on outdoor high ozone levels and Ozone Alerts, visit https://www.ozonealert.com/.

The Disaster Resilience Network is providing these hazards of the month in conjunction with the City of Tulsa’s Storm Water Drainage and Hazard Mitigation Advisory Board. These hazards are identified in the 2014 City of Tulsa Multi-Hazard Mitigation Plan.

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Prepárese / Be Prepared

Our partners at Key Plus Broadcasting are running the following preparedness messages in English and Spanish at Que Buena Tulsa KXTD 104.9fm 1530am 100.3fm and The Wolf 94.5fm. Thank you Key Plus Broadcasting for sharing this important information.

Español

Prepárese

English

Be Prepared

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CRO DeVon Douglass gave an engaging presentation at Disaster Resilience Network Tri-Council Meeting

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A Day at Cinco de Mayo Festival in Tulsa

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Cinco de Mayo event in the River West Festival Park

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Louisiana-Based Foundations Launch Public-Private Partnership in Support of Building a More Resilient Louisiana

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Mr. Tim Lovell while speaking about the collaboration between our Interpreting Program and Disaster Resilience Network – formerly Tulsa Partners, Inc. at TCC Center for Creativity

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