Post-Sandy Preparedness Is Increasing Safety and Saving Money

The Takeaway: Coastal communities are using a self-assessment website and other tools to up their resilience game.

Tropical Cyclone Sandy made coastal New Jersey communities acutely aware of community vulnerability and looking for ways to increase hazard preparedness and reduce costs. Dozens of municipalities are using the Getting to Resilience self-assessment website, developed by the state’s coastal zone management program, and other tools to increase preparedness by linking planning, mitigation, and adaptation.

Jacques Cousteau National Estuarine Research Reserve and experts from Rutgers University worked alongside municipal staff members to use the reserve’s “Getting to Resilience” questionnaire, the New Jersey-specific Coastal Hazard Profiler and NOAA Digital Coast’s Coastal Flood Exposure Mapper. Participants were able to produce customized community resilience recommendations, complete with digital and hard copy maps.

Many communities implementing the suggested actions are getting cheaper flood insurance rates through the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Community Rating System. Some reduced their flood insurance premiums five percent to twenty percent, with greater reductions possible in the future. Similar actions taken nationwide would result in at least $92 million in savings for coastal communities, according to a data analysis of the Community Rating System.

So far, nearly 40 coastal communities have received the detailed analyses and recommendations. Suggested improvements include producing a coastal hazard disclosure policy, creating a detailed mitigation plan for areas with repetitive losses, and collecting data on areas with dangerous erosion.

Funding for this multi-partner project was made possible by a $424,000 grant (see "Superstorm Sandy NOAA Disaster Relief Appropriations page). Additional funding was provided by NOAA’s National Estuarine Research Reserve System, and the project was implemented by the reserve’s Coastal Training Program. (2017)

More Information:

Partners: Barnegat Bay Partnership, Cooperative Institute for the North Atlantic Region, Jacques Cousteau National Estuarine Research Reserve, NOAA Office for Coastal Management, New Jersey Coastal Management Program, Rutgers University, Sustainable New Jersey

Fast Fact: Did you know that communities that participate in the National Flood Insurance Program can save up to 45 percent on insurance premiums under the Community Rating System? For more statistics related to this story, check out Hazard Mitigation Value and Hurricane Costs.