News Flash

Planning & Public Works

Posted on: April 23, 2012

FEMA’s new flood rating reduces insurance premiums in Pierce County

April 23, 2012

FEMA’s new flood rating reduces insurance premiums in Pierce County

Pierce County has earned a new flood rating from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) as a result of its floodplain management activities. The new rating means that unincorporated Pierce County residents living in a mapped floodplain will enjoy lower flood insurance premiums effective May 1.

Pierce County is now the third community in the United States with a Class 2 rating under the National Flood Insurance Program's Community Rating System, which recognizes and encourages community floodplain management activities. The program reduces flood insurance premium rates for property owners in communities that implement activities above and beyond the basic requirements of the National Flood Insurance Program. Pierce County has held a Class 3 rating since 2008.

"This achievement shows how seriously Pierce County takes floodplain management," said Pierce County Executive Pat McCarthy. "We promote innovative approaches to flood risk management. We are focused on projects that protect life and property, flood preparation, our flood warning system, and outreach and education. These efforts are paying off in the form of reduced flood insurance premiums for our residents."

Plaque presentation on April 24

David Miller, FEMA's Federal Insurance and Mitigation Administration's Associate Administrator, will present the county's Class 2 plaque during the Pierce County Council meeting at 6 p.m. April 24 at the Key Peninsula Middle School in Lakebay. (The meeting is one of a series held in each County Council district throughout the year.)

"Pierce County is now the third community in the nation with a Class 2 rating," said Ken Murphy, FEMA Regional Administrator. "This rating reflects the county's dedication to excellence in floodplain management. The county and its residents have taken important steps to enhance public safety, reduce damages to property and public infrastructure, avoid economic disruption and losses, and protect the environment."

King County, Wash. and Tulsa, Okla. also have a Class 2 rating. Roseville, Calif. is the only community with a Class 1 rating. Nationwide, there are 1,211 communities that participate in the Community Rating System, with 33 in Washington State. Pierce County has participated in the Community Rating System since 1995.

Lower flood insurance premiums

Unincorporated Pierce County residents in a mapped Special Flood Hazard Area will receive a 40 percent reduction in their flood insurance premiums, an increase from the current 35 percent discount. Residents not in a Special Flood Hazard Area will continue to see a 10 percent reduction.

As of March 2012, there were 2,178 active flood insurance policies in unincorporated Pierce County. The current average premium is $526. The savings due to the Community Rating System's Class Ranking each year is $341,000.

System focuses on four areas

The Community Rating System looks at a participating community's activities in four areas: public information, mapping and regulations, flood damage reduction, and flood preparation. Each community is rated on a scale of 1 to 10, depending on extra flood protection measures taken.

Pierce County's comprehensive floodplain management program includes a variety of measures. For example, the county distributes a Flood Bulletin annually to more than 19,000 residents living in a flood hazard area. The bulletin provides information on what to do before, during and after a flood, as well as updates about flood insurance, emergency contacts, and more. The county also offers free floodplain maps to help property owners determine their flood risk.

The county's flood warning system includes a rivers flood forecast tool and an alert system through the Pierce County Emergency Management Department that sends residents flood-related messages.

Also, through its flood buyout program, Pierce County pursues federal funds to allow it to purchase properties that are repeatedly damaged by floods and then restore the property back to its natural floodplain functions.

For more information on floodplain management activities in Pierce County, visit For more information on the Community Rating System, visit

Harold Smelt, Public Works and Utilities surface water manager
(253) 798-2952

Diana Seifert, FEMA Region X public affairs officer
(425) 487-4914

Anne Radford, Public Works and Utilities public information officer
(253) 798-2464

Facebook Twitter Email

Other News in Planning & Public Works

Apply for a historic preservation grant

Posted on: November 24, 2020

Groundwater Monitoring Season Reminder

Posted on: October 9, 2020

Natural Disaster Assistance

Posted on: September 15, 2020

Critical Area Sign-Off Improvements

Posted on: November 19, 2019

October News - Community Plan Updates

Posted on: October 18, 2019

Code enforcement portal improvements

Posted on: September 26, 2019

Our permit process just got easier

Posted on: September 24, 2019

Recording Fees Increase in July 2019

Posted on: July 10, 2019

Shoreline Master Program Update

Posted on: June 20, 2019

Road standards revisions coming soon

Posted on: March 13, 2019

Apply for Family Wage Job Credits

Posted on: March 8, 2019

February 28 Traffic Impact Fee Workshop

Posted on: February 19, 2019

West Lobby at the Annex Closes March 1

Posted on: February 14, 2019

Traffic Impact Fees To Change Feb. 1

Posted on: January 28, 2019

Annex Remodel Underway

Posted on: January 18, 2019

January 16 Shoreline Workshop

Posted on: January 9, 2019

Family-Wage Job Credit Program

Posted on: January 2, 2019

Tips to treecycle your Christmas tree

Posted on: December 20, 2013

New levee will protect people, help salmon

Posted on: December 19, 2013

Treecycle your Christmas tree

Posted on: December 24, 2012
Santa photo

See Santa land at Thun Field, Dec. 9

Posted on: December 4, 2012

Prepare now for flood season

Posted on: October 19, 2012

Ferry crew rescues kayaker

Posted on: September 7, 2012

Wednesday ferry schedule adjusted

Posted on: June 15, 2012

Celebrate Puget Sound in May

Posted on: April 25, 2012

Last chance for free storm debris disposal

Posted on: February 24, 2012

Free storm debris disposal ends Feb. 26

Posted on: February 17, 2012