Flooding and Flood Insurance Information

Know Your Flood Hazard

Your property may be located in an area prone to flooding.  Natural disasters such as flood, fire, earthquake, tornado and windstorm affect thousands of people every year.  You should know what your risks are and prepare to protect yourself, your family and community. (http://www.ready.gov/natural-disasters) One of the first steps to do this is to determine whether your property is lcoated in a special flood hazard area.  The maps located at the bottom of this page can help you accomplish this.  

Be aware of flood hazards no matter where you live or work, but especially if you are in low-lying areas, near water, behind a levee or downstream from a dam. Even very small streams, gullies, creeks, culverts, dry streambeds or low-lying ground that appear harmless in dry weather can flood. (http://www.ready.gov/floods)


The Federal Emergency Management Agency has recently updated the coastal Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) for the Town of North Kingstown.  Copies of these maps are available below or at the Planning Department, 55 Brown Street, North Kingstown. You can also access this information through a portal on the RI Emergency Management Agency (RIEMA) website.  A link to the site is available here:  RI Floodplain Mapping Tool

The North Kingstown Planning Department as well as the Building Official’s office provides either paper or digital copies of these maps for the public’s review.  The public can either review the FIRM on a large computer screen linked to the FIRM database or they can review the hard copies.  Both options are user friendly and staff in either department are well versed at the process and assisting the public with finding properties on the maps.  The index for the town is referred to and the appropriate map is found in paper or digital copy.  The previous FIRMs are also available using the same process.  In addition, staff can assist the public over the phone with similar inquiries and email portions of the firm as a .pdf as necessary.  You can access the panel #, flood zone, FIRM date, base flood elevation, Coastal A or CBRS, or depth of BFE.  Staff can also access past flood or repetitive flood area information for the property.  In addition, there are sensitive or wetland area maps available for review for ech lot.  Most of this information is obtained from the FIRM maps, however other sources of information are used as well.  Elevation certificates are filed by year (both electronically or in paper files) and can be reviewed for each inquiry, the town’s internet mapping server or GIS program can be accessed for wetland information. 

We have also prepared a packet as part of our participation in the Community Rating System program.  See CRS 2016 submission below.  Included in our yearly submission to the FEMA CRS Program is an update on the town's Hazard Mitigation Plan (HMP).  Please see the 2016 HMP update below.

If you should have any questions, please feel free to contact the Planning Department at 268-1571. You can also access the Flood Smart web site for additional guidance on understanding the flood maps. These maps are effective as of October 2013.


Insure your property for your flood hazard

The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) is a federal program enabling property owners in participating communities to purchase flood insurance on eligible buildings and contents, whether they are in or out of a floodplain. North Kingstown participates in the NFIP, making federally backed flood insurance available to its property owners. The NFIP insures most walled and roofed buildings that are principally above ground on a permanent foundation, including mobile homes, and buildings in the course of construction. Property owners can purchase building and contents coverage from any local property and casualty insurance agent. To find a local insurance agent that writes flood insurance in your area visit www.floodsmart.gov. Additional information on the NFIP can be found at the following link NFIP.


Protect People From the Hazard


Recognizing an impending hazard and knowing what to do to protect yourself and your family will help you take effective steps to prepare beforehand and aid recovery after the event.
Some of the things you can do to prepare for the unexpected, such as assembling a supply kit and developing a family emergency plan, are the same for all types of hazards. However each emergency is unique and knowing the actions to take for each threat will impact the specific decisions and preparations you make. By learning about these specific threats, you are preparing yourself to react in an emergency.

The Flood Smart web site also provides additional information on the importance of flood preparedness and protection. The web site includes links to fact sheets and brochures on these topics. This information will help to educate residents about their flood risk, how they can protect their property and how to get flood insurance.  This information is available by clicking on the following link Flood Outreach Toolkit.

The following link to the Flood Smart web site provides some interesting facts about flooding in general.  Click on the following to access this information: Flood Facts.

Your family may not be together when a disaster strikes so it is important to plan in advance: how you will get to a safe place; how you will contact one another; how you will get back together; and what you will do in different situations.  Recognizing an impending hazard and knowing what to do to protect yourself and your family will help you take effective steps to prepare beforehand and aid recovery after the event.
Some of the things you can do to prepare for the unexpected, such as assembling a supply kit and developing a family emergency plan, are the same for all types of hazards. However each emergency is unique and knowing the actions to take for each threat will impact the specific decisions and preparations you make. By learning about these specific threats, you are preparing yourself to react in an emergency. (http://www.ready.gov/make-a-plan)

In addition, know where your evacuation routes area.  The following link will direct you to the evacuation map for North Kingstown: North Kingstown Evacuation Map.

Another good action for being prepared is to monitor the local tide gauge information.  Tide gauges provide critical water level information to help emergency responders and managers, weather forecasters, coastal planners and others prepare and respond to the impacts of coastal storms and rising sea levels.  Tide gauge information for the local area can be accessed on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Assocation (NOAA) at the following link: Newport Tide Gauge  and Providence Tide GaugeThe Newport and Providence gauages are utilized for this area. 

Tide gauges have been utilized to estimate sea level change from data collected over the last century. Tide gauges measure the sea level relative to a nearby geodetic benchmark. The figure below is the most commonly used tide gauge measurement system.  Tide gauges also monitor meteorological factors that affect sea levels, such as barometric pressure and wind speed, so that these variable factors can be eliminated from long-term assessments of sea level change. Tide gauges offer the only source of historical, precise, long-term sea level data. (http://sealevel.colorado.edu/content/tide-gauge-sea-level). 


Protect Your Property from the Hazard

If you aren’t sure whether your property or business is at risk from disasters caused by natural hazards, check with the North Kingstown Building Official (294-3331 X303) or Planning Department (268-1571). They can tell you whether you are in an area where hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, wildfires, or tornadoes are likely to occur. Also, they usually can tell you how to protect yourself, your house, business and property from the different hazards. There is good information available from FEMA that details many of the improvements you can make to your home both pre-and post-disaster.  The FEMA web site includes many links to important information here www.fema.gov/protect-your-property">https://www.fema.gov/protect-your-property" target="_blank">Protect Your Property They also have a helpful publication entitled www.fema.gov/media-library/assets/documents/21471">https://www.fema.gov/media-library/assets/documents/21471" target="_blank">Protecting Your Home and Property from Flood Damage.www.fema.gov/media-library/assets/documents/21471">https://www.fema.gov/media-library/assets/documents/21471" target="_blank"> 

The following steps can be taken to protect your property:

Keep your property and the surrounding area free of debris

Elevate Your House and Utilities

Relocate your House and Utilities


 Build Responsibly

Protecting your property from flooding can involve a variety of actions, from inspecting and maintaining the building to installing protective devices. Most of these actions, especially those that affect the structure of your building or their utility systems, should be carried out by qualified maintenance staff or professional contractors licensed to work in your state, county, or city. One example of flood protection is using www.fema.gov/media-library-data/20130726-1502-20490-4764/fema_tb_2_rev1.pdf">https://www.fema.gov/media-library-data/20130726-1502-20490-4764/fema_tb..." target="_blank">flood-resistant construction materials.   There is also a www.fema.gov/media-library-data/20130726-1536-20490-4305/fema499_1_7.pdf">https://www.fema.gov/media-library-data/20130726-1536-20490-4305/fema499..." target="_blank">Coastal Building Materials guide available as well.  FEMA also has a very infomrative page dedicated to this topic.  The www.fema.gov/building-codes-toolkit">https://www.fema.gov/building-codes-toolkit" target="_blank">Buidling Code Toolkit is a great resource for homeowners and their contractors.  

Developed by the FEMA Federal Insurance & Mitigation Administration (FIMA), Risk Reduction Division, Building Science Branch, this Building Codes Toolkit provides basic guidance and easy-to-use tools to help property owners understand building codes and the basic processes and standards associated with proper design, permitting, construction, and mitigation.
Building codes specify the minimum design and construction requirements to safeguard the health, safety, and welfare of both building occupants and the general public. Historically, details of the building codes, how they are implemented, and its value to overall community planning and disaster resilience have only been understood by the technical community (i.e., engineers, architects, building codes officials, etc.).  FEMA recognizes that it is also equally important for the property owners to learn building codes and how their investment to proper construction ultimately protects their property and their occupants. www.fema.gov/media-library/assets/documents/30423?id=6882">https://www.fema.gov/media-library/assets/documents/30423?id=6882" target="_blank">Building Code Full Tookit. 

Protect Natural Floodplain Functions


Flood plains are areas adjacent to rivers, ponds, lakes, and oceans that are periodically flooded at different points in time. Floodplains are hydrologically important, environmentally sensitive, and ecologically productive areas that perform many natural functions. They contain both cultural and natural resources that are of great value to society. Flooding occurs naturally along every river and coastal areas. Flood waters can carry nutrient-rich sediments which contribute to a fertile environment for vegetation. Floodplains are beneficial for wildlife by creating a variety of habitats for fish and other animals. In addition, floodplains are important because of storage and conveyance, protection of water quality, and recharge of groundwater. Walton County, Florida is a good resource for this type of information.  www.co.walton.fl.us/733/Natural-Beneficial-Functions-of-Floodpla">https://www.co.walton.fl.us/733/Natural-Beneficial-Functions-of-Floodpla" target="_blank">Walton County, FL.  FEMA also has a great publication available called www.fema.gov/media-library-data/20130726-1440-20490-5918/fema268.pdf">https://www.fema.gov/media-library-data/20130726-1440-20490-5918/fema268..." target="_blank">Protecting Floodplain Resources. It provides a basic uinderstanding of the natural resources present in floodplains and how to protect them.  The following provides some of the ways to protect these important functions:

Maintain wetland and vegetative buffers

Utilize and maintain erosion control measures such as silt fences during construction

Don't dump in storm drains.  All drains go to the bay!

The town has also worked with Save the Bay as well as a local boy scout troop to mark the stormwater drains with educational stickers and stencils.  The town has mapped the entire drainage system.  Using this map, volunteers from both organizations adhere stickers or paint stencils next to the storm drain to raise awareness about storm drains.  These stickers and stencils state “Storm Drains Are Only For Rain”.  The town maintains a map of which storm drains is maintained by the Department of Public Works.  See the Drainage Map attached below.

Make sure that drainage basins and outfalls are inspected to ensure they are clean and free of debris in common areas.  


The RI Emergency Management Agency (RIEMA) also has information available on their web site at the following www.riema.ri.gov">http://www.riema.ri.gov" target="_blank">RIEMA. Some of the information available includes www.riema.ri.gov/resources/citizens/prepare/documents/Flood%20Safety.pdf">http://www.riema.ri.gov/resources/citizens/prepare/documents/Flood%20Saf..." target="_blank">flood safety, www.riema.ri.gov//planning/floodplain/index.php">http://www.riema.ri.gov//planning/floodplain/index.php" target="_blank">floodplain management,www.riema.ri.gov/resources/citizens/prepare/evacuation.php">http://www.riema.ri.gov/resources/citizens/prepare/evacuation.php" target="_blank">evacuation, www.riema.ri.gov/resources/citizens/prepare/index.php">http://www.riema.ri.gov/resources/citizens/prepare/index.php" target="_blank">preparedeness, and www.riema.ri.gov/resources/citizens/index.php">http://www.riema.ri.gov/resources/citizens/index.php" target="_blank">emergency contacts.  There are several links to various federal and state agencies available on the RIEMA web page as well.  One of those links is to the FEMA www.ready.gov/">http://www.ready.gov/" target="_blank">Ready.Gov web site.  This web site highlights how to be informed, making a plan, preparing an emergency kit, being involved in the community, and involving the kids in the community.