A new website is available to help communities better understand how to create a Program for Public Information (PPI) and earn outreach points under the National Flood Insurance Program's Community Rating System (CRS). Points earned through the CRS help improve a community's rating and can lead to discounted flood insurance premiums.
A PPI is a committee-based localized approach to community outreach on flood hazards and flood insurance under the CRS. The PPI was a newly created, creditable outreach activity under the 2013 CRS Coordinator's Manual, Activity 330. Its goal is to encourage community outreach that is designed to meet local needs. The outreach plan must be monitored, evaluated and revised to improve effectiveness.
"We have been working on the PPI for a few years now," said Rick Stickler, city floodplain manager for Biloxi, Miss. "It is important to the city for the insurance savings and for the safety of our citizens."
The website offers information based on a project, funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Gulf of Mexico Program, that helped communities with two PPI efforts: a multi-jurisdiction PPI for Cameron, Calcasieu and Vermilion parishes in Louisiana and a single-jurisdiction PPI for the city of Biloxi in Mississippi.
The Louisiana Sea Grant Law and Policy Program, the Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium and the Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Legal Program received funding from the EPA Gulf of Mexico Program to offer communities technical assistance with their PPI efforts. The Sea Grant team created the website to help other communities learn from its experiences with developing the PPIs.
The website includes information about who must be included in the PPI committee, realistic timelines, lessons learned and copies of the two PPI documents created through the EPA-funded project. The documents can serve as examples for communities considering creating and implementing a PPI.
"Developing a PPI is an important component of the new CRS manual," said Tracie Sempier, coastal storms outreach coordinator with Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant. "Communities that are able to put this new plan in action will have a more coordinated risk communication approach for reaching all sectors of the population during coastal storm events."