Holistic community outreach is an important part of raising awareness about flood hazards. This activity awards points to communities that invest in local information programs.
Outreach projects (OP)
Outreach projects are annual campaigns to disseminate flood-related information to your community.
Element 332.a encourages your community to actively share information about flood hazards, reducing flood damage, increasing flood insurance policies, and protecting floodplains with the public. To receive credit, outreach projects must be conducted annually. You should conduct outreach on topics most relevant to your constituents but at least one outreach project must discuss flood insurance.
Types of projects that qualify for this element include:
- Booklets, brochures, flyers available in a public location
- Articles, signs, presentations
- Targeted outreach projects meant for a specific audience (such as residents in the floodplain or repetitive loss area residents)
Potential topics for outreach include:
- Knowing your flood hazard risk
- Insuring your property for flood hazards
- Protecting individuals from flood hazards
- Building responsibly
- Protecting natural floodplain functions
Priority audiences (if your community does not have a credited Program for Public Information (PPI) include:
- Floodplain residents
- Repetitive loss area residents
- Residents in areas protected by levees
- Residents in areas that could be flooded by a dam failure
- Residents in areas vulnerable to special flood-related hazards
If your community has a Program for Public Information (PPI), you can add more audiences to your outreach projects.
You should evaluate whether or not you are already conducting this type of outreach. If you’re not, there might be an opportunity to combine CRS outreach projects with existing local outreach projects. When considering how to structure outreach projects, it’s useful to know that the CRS encourages repeated outreach. As such, repeating a project twice a year will count as two projects per year in credit calculations. Lastly, trainings for local government do not qualify as outreach projects under this element.
For this element, you must provide:
- Evidence of the outreach projects (this will most frequently take the form of copies of outreach documents)
- Proof of outreach project distribution (mailing list, sign-in sheet)
Credits depend on the number of outreach projects, messages conveyed, and audiences. There is no impact adjustment for this element. You do not receive credits for outreach projects under 332.a. if they are already counted under 332.b.
Flood response preparations (FRP)
Do you have a system for distributing information about specific flood events?
Your community can receive credit for outreach projects specifically prepared for and conducted around flood events. This element requires you to have a procedure for disseminating outreach projects before, during, and/or after flood events. It also requires you to have the materials for these outreach projects prepared and packaged.
Flood Response Preparation (FRP) outreach projects must be coordinated with the department or individual coordinating emergency response. In order to receive credits for this element, you must also receive credits for 332.a Outreach Projects.
To receive credits for this element, you must provide:
Documentation of their flood event outreach projects including:
- Copies of the documents distributed
- Procedures for dissemination
- Proof of outreach project dissemination (if a flood event occured)
- Documentation of an annual flood event outreach project review
You must utilize your Flood Response Preparations (FRP) outreach projects each time a flood event occurs. If a flood does not occur in a given year, you should review the procedure annually to receive credit. There is no impact adjustment for this element.
Program for Public Information (PPI)
Having a Program for Public Information (PPI) can increase the credits you're receiving for other elements in this activity.
A Program for Public Information is a planning effort designed to disseminate messages to the public. This element is unique in that it is a multiplier for 332.a Outreach Projects (OP) and 332.b. Flood Response Preparations (FRP).
The steps to creating a PPI are:
Establish a committee that fulfills the following criteria:
- meets at least twice
- includes at least 5 people
- includes members of the floodplain management and public information office
- involves people outside of the local government (at least half of its members must be outside of government)
Assess public information needs
- Identify priority areas in your community
- Assess flood insurance coverage in your community
- Pick priority audiences
- Inventory other public information efforts that exist in the community
- Create messages specific to your community
- Identify outreach projects for the messages
- Incorporate public information initiatives outside of 330 (like activities 320, 350, and 360)
- Compose and adopt the PPI document
- Implement, monitor, and evaluate the PPI annually; update the PPI every 5 years
PPIs can include all types of outreach projects, including those related to the following activities:
- 320 Map Information Service
- 340 Hazard Disclosure
- 350 Flood Protection Information
- 360 Flood Protection Assistance
- 370 Flood Insurance Promotion
- 510 Floodplain Management Planning
- 540 Drainage System Maintenance
Programs for Public Information (PPIs) require a significant amount of effort to write and maintain but they can also build your community’s capacity to engage in outreach projects and other public initiatives.
You must provide:
- The adopted PPI and documentation of the adoption process (meeting minutes or sign-in sheets)
- Annual PPI review (in the form of a report, table, or spreadsheet of outreach project progress) as well as documentation that the review occurred (meeting minutes or sign-in sheets)
- Documentation of annual PPI updates (again, in the form of a report, table, or spreadsheet) as well as documentation that the updates were adopted by your community.
There is no credit for the Program for Public Information (PPI) itself, only for the outreach projects included in the PPI, plus the PPI multiplier. The credit for 332.a. Outreach Projects (OP) and 332.b. Flood Response Preparations (FRP) can increase by 40% if they are included in a Program for Public Information (PPI). There is no impact adjustment for this element.
Stakeholder delivery (STK)
Are there organizations you can engage in delivering the outreach propects in your Program from Public Information (PPI)?
This element is a multiplier for 332.a Outreach Projects (OP) and 332.c Program for Public Information (PPI). As outreach messages are often more effective when they are perceived as coming from a non-governmental stakeholder, this element encourages utilizing stakeholder organizations to deliver outreach messages. These organizations can include insurance companies, newspapers, FEMA, schools, neighborhood associations, utility companies, and/or presentations by outside stakeholders. You can only receive credit for this element if they have a Program for Public Information (PPI).
Including messages from stakeholders in your community’s outreach projects and Program for Public Information (PPI) can be complicated if stakeholder relationships don’t already exist.
To document this element, you must provide:
- Copies of the outreach projects
- Proof that the outreach projects were disseminated
- Proof that the outreach projects were disseminated by stakeholder organizations
You can receive an additional 30% multiplier on outreach projects included in a Program for Public Information (PPI) delivered by stakeholder organizations. Stakeholder Delivery (STK) credit is not available for outreach projects conducted for 332.b Flood Response Preparations (FRP). There is no impact adjustment for this element.
This CRS guide was produced by CRS professionals and Certified Floodplain Managers to help you navigate the Community Rating System. It is not meant to replace FEMA's official CRS Coordinator's Manual, nor should it supersede the instructions given by your ISO/CRS Specialist.
For additional resources, visit https://crsresources.org/ .