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FEMA hosts Open House to explain proposed flood zone maps

BRIDGE CITY - By Megan Dillard - We made it through last hurricane season without any major storms or mass evacuations.

But for anyone who has lived in Southeast Texas for a time, we know that's not always the case.

FEMA is working with gulf coast counties to redraw flood zone maps. KFDM stopped by the group's open house in Bridge City this afternoon.

We spoke with a man who has seen hurricane damage first hand.

Now, he wants to learn more about how to protect his home.

Check-in starts at the front door of the Bridge City Community Center.

"There's also a video on the stage you can watch while you're waiting and then we'll get to you as soon as possible. Thank you!"

This man is here for FEMA's open house.

His goal?

To learn more about proposed flood zone maps. His home flooded during hurricanes in recent years.

"We did have flood insurance, we rebuilt. We replaced a lot of things, but your home is the biggest investment you're ever going to have so you need to do what you can to protect it."

"Eric Carcerano? That's me. Christine's going to take care of you."
One by one, people sat with FEMA trainers who looked at the individual's home.

"Yes, that's the house."

An opportunity to ask questions...

"If my house isn't red, does that mean we're still okay?"
...then on to the next station.

"Okay, thank you."

Off to look at maps of the region...

"This part right here."

...then on to the insurance table.

"Thank you guys, alright. Let me go talk to the insurance people."

Each station, a place to learn more about home protection.

"Because we had the insurance, and because we did everything we were supposed to, we were able to get back in our home and rebuild. At this point, it's really just a matter of staying on top of it."

"Lawrence Road is where it is."

Lisa Roberts works for Orange County.

Her office has worked with FEMA and each of the communities to draw the maps and host today's meeting.

"As long as you're in compliance, you'll be okay."
Roberts explains the current maps are more than 30 years old.

New technology and commercial development are just two of the reasons for the changes.

"When the storm came through, that just gave them a better reason to update the maps."

Roberts knows new zoning may reclassify whether some homes are in a flood zone, but she says it's part of the ultimate goal of safety.

"They may not be happy with that, but eventually and in the long run, if they build in compliance and their house is compliant, then they will be reasonably safe from flooding."

For people like Eric Carcerano, the knowledge and potential to pay a little more for insurance is worth the price.

"It's a small investment to make to protect obviously the biggest investment that you have, I think."

FEMA is hosting open houses throughout the gulf coast coastal counties. The group will be in Jefferson County Thursday night.

FEMA Link:

FEMA hosts Open House to explain proposed flood zone maps

Monday, January 21 2013, 01:31 PM CST
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