Flooding is one of the most frequent natural mishaps we encounter. The risk exists throughout the Town of Hamlin but the potential is greater in some areas than others due to drainage, waterways, erosion and other factors. FEMA and the New York State Department of Environmental Control (DEC), with input from the Hamlin Highway Department, recently completed a multi-year project to re-examine the Town’s potential flood zones and completed new maps, known as Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMS). The maps reflect current flood risks, replacing maps that were many years old.
As a result of the reexamination, certain properties have been mapped into a higher risk area. The Town recently sent individual letters to these property owners advising them of this new status. The primary purpose for this notification is to advise those property owners that, if they have a mortgage from a federally-regulated lender, then the lender will require those property owners to carry flood insurance or increase their coverage if assigned to a higher risk area, when these new maps become effective – in about six months. Flood insurance is available through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) provided by nearly 100 insurance companies and written through licensed insurance agents. Property owners should contact their insurance agent to learn about lower-cost “grandfathering” options offered by the NFIP for properties being mapped into higher-risk areas for the first time.
If the property no longer carries a mortgage, it is still recommended that flood insurance be considered. Over a 30-year period, there is about a three times greater chance of experiencing a flood than a fire. And most home-owners’ insurance policies do not provide coverage for damage due to flooding. For more information on flood insurance, visit the NFIP web site at www.floodsmart.gov.
The Flood Insurance Rate Maps that have been released are still preliminary. If anyone has questions, wishes to view the maps, or desires to submit a statement for the public comment period, which runs to February 21, 2008, please visit the Hamlin Building Inspector’s office at Town Hall or call that office at 964-8961 and ask for a generic FEMA “Frequently Asked Question sheet,” which will be mailed to you.