Homeowner's and business multiperil insurance policies do not cover losses from flooding. Flood insurance policies must be purchased as a separate policy. Renters also can buy flood policies to protect their personal property up to $100,000. The maximum policy amount available from the federal government for a single family residence is $250,000.
You are eligible for flood insurance because Jefferson Parish participates in the National Flood Insurance Program. If the FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) flood maps show that a property is in an AE or VE Zone, flood insurance is required by law in order to get a loan or mortgage. There is a 30 day waiting period before a flood insurance policy becomes effective. In Jefferson Parish, the purchase of flood insurance on a voluntary basis is wise even outside of Special Flood Hazard Areas. Call your insurance agent for flood insurance information. In May 1995, August 2005, and September 2008, flooding occurred in areas outside the Special Flood Hazard Areas.
You must have an active flood insurance policy to be eligible for any disaster relief. To be eligible for any FEMA grant program, you must have had an active flood insurance policy at the time of the flooding event. Once you've purchased flood insurance, keep your policy and an itemized list of your furnishings, clothing, and valuables in a safe place, such as a safe deposit box. Call your agent or broker immediately if you suffer flood damage.
Many things can be done to an existing building to minimize or eliminate the potential for flood damage.
Sand, plywood, plastic sheeting and lumber can be used to protect a structure temporarily. These supplies are readily available from a number of retail outlets throughout Gretna. Personal items can also be elevated or moved to upper floors.
Permanent flood proofing measures for flood-prone structures are preferable. These permanent retrofitting methods include elevating the structure, building flood walls and closures, and protecting utilities.
Contact the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers at 862-2358, Floodplain Services, the Gretna Building and Regulatory Office at 363-1563, or Jefferson Parish's Department of Engineering at 736-6500 for information about flood proofing.
The Floodplain Administrator can also make site visits to discuss local flood problems or flood proofing techniques by calling 363-1563. You can also get information on retrofitting, flood insurance, flood protection, and floodplain management from the Gretna Public Library, or the Jefferson Parish regional libraries on the east and west bank or on the following web site: http://floodhelp.uno.edu.
To be habitable, Jefferson Parish needs a sophisticated drainage system allowing stormwaters to pump over the levee system that surrounds the parish. The Jefferson Parish Department of Drainage has a regular program of drainage system maintenance. You can help by cleaning catch basins in front of your property. Also do not dump debris in catch basins, drainage ditches, and canals.
Flooding can occur during any season of the year. Because so much of the land is low, your property may be in a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) as determined by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) through the use of Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRM).
The most common source of flood water in the parish is rain. In the late summer, hurricanes and their tidal surges also pose a serious threat. The last major flooding occurred in May 1995, August 2005, and September 2008.
Flood water collects because much of Gretna lies at or below sea level with land prone to subsidence or sinking. The low, flat ground provides little natural gravity drainage so water that falls in the parish must be pumped out. Maps showing flood hazard areas are on file at your local library or the Gretna City Hall Office of Building and Regulatory Inspections. To see what zone your property is located in, visit your local library and review the appropriate FIRM or call the Floodplain Administrator at 363-1563 or online at the department's homepage on www.gretnala.com.
If emergency officials tell you to evacuate or leave your home, go immediately to a safe shelter which will be announced by the parish at the time of the event. All citizens are encouraged to leave the parish during these instances. Turn off all utilities at the main switch, if time permits and it is safe to do so. Do not touch any electrical equipment unless it is in a dry area. Electricity can be especially dangerous during and after flooding.
The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), aswell as Gretna ordinances, require that when the cost of reconstruction, rehabilitation, addition, or other improvements to a building equals or exceeds 50% of the fair market value; then the building must meet the same construction requirements as a new building. Substantially damaged buildings must also be brought up to the same standards.
A residence or building damaged so that the cost of repairs equals or exceeds 50% of the structure's fair market value must also be elevated at or above the Base Flood Elevation (BFE) in flood zones where BFE's exist. Questions regarding this subject may be directed to the Gretna Office Of Building and Regulatory Inspections at 363-1563.
Jefferson Parish operates a floodwarning system to alert citizens about the possibility of impending flooding caused by hurricaries, tropical storms, and storm water from prolonged thunderstorms, tornadoes, winter storms, high winds, or a combination thereof.
A warning period will be available for most emergency situations, but the amount of lead time may vary from hazard to hazard. Proper action during this warning period will save lives, reduce injuries, and protect property. These warnings are routinely disseminated through the Emergency Alert System (EAS). When three (3) short dual tones are heard over TV and radio stations, citizens should immediately tune to Cox Cable TV Channel 6 (Government Access Channel).
In the event of an electrical-power outage tune in to WWL Radio 870 AM or 101.9 FM for initial warning information and subsequent updates.
A large portion of Gretna is at or below sea level. While there are some areas that are above this level, the entire city is prone to the possibility of flooding. This is primarily because we are surrounded by rivers, lakes, bayous, and canals which necessitate our protection through a series of levee systems. We therefore must use drainage canals and pumping stations to remove storm water as quickly. as possible into the surrounding waterways outside the levee system.
Citizens who observe any harmful activity with regard to our canal systems should immediately report it to the Gretna Department of Public Works at 363-1579.
If you suffer property damage during a flood, immediately report your damages to the Gretna Office of Building and Regulatory Inspections at 363-1563. This data will allow the Gretna to obtain an accurate count on property damage in the area and apply for available Federal Assistance.
Remember you must still call the FEMA 800 number that will be announced after the incident to file your flood claim. For more information on flood insurance and other flood related data, you can visit the Gretna Public Library or the Jefferson Parish Eastbank or Westbank Regional Library. Additionally, for a list of flood related websites, visit www.gretnala.com then select Flood Mitigation Information. You may also visit http://floodhelp.uno.edu for additional information.
If you have any questions regarding this service, please contact Danika Gorrondona.