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Timing is Everything When It Comes to Communicating Flood Risks & Solutions

by | Oct 15, 2018 | ASFPM, News & Views

As a
flood risk professional, you know when your flood season begins. It’s different
all over the country. If you’re in a mountainous area in the West, you know
you’re going to have snow melt in the spring. That means you need to plan a
risk communication and outreach campaign well in advance of the event. And if
your message is for people to make sure and buy flood insurance so they are
prepared for potential flood, you also need to get that message out at least 30
days before floods could hit.

Here’s
a 30-second
video of Montana Lt. Gov. Mike Cooney warning people to get flood insurance before the
spring snow melt. The commercial aired in March (a month before spring floods hit
the state).

The
public service announcement ran about 80 times in a two week period, according
to Traci Sears, Montana’s state floodplain manager and ASFPM’s Region 8
director. She also said there was an increase of 558 policies within this time
period or a 6.17% increase. Montana is more than 147,000-square-miles (the
fourth largest in the U.S.), with just over 1.05 million people. Sears said
that number was a significant increase for such a rural state.

And
seriously, you don’t have to hire a production company to do this. Smart phones
can be used, then it can be shared on a community’s website and social media
pages. Total cost? Zero.

Effective messaging with
perfect timing means your people will be better prepared the next time flood
season hits. FEMA created
a “starter kit” to help you reach out
to the media and public about purchasing flood insurance (and it includes a
Spanish language kit).

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