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Tulsa Moves Up to Class 1 in Community Rating System for Flood Loss Reduction

This article was archived on 11/7/2021

Tulsa has moved up in 2021 from a Class 2 ranking to a Class 1, the highest possible ranking in the National Flood Insurance Program’s Community Rating System. With Tulsa’s Class 1 rating, National Flood Insurance Program policies issued or renewed in the city limits are eligible for a 45-percent discount in premium costs starting in April 2022.

The Community Rating System is a voluntary program for flood loss reduction in which communities that go beyond the minimum floodplain management requirements earn flood insurance discounts for residents. The Federal Emergency Management Agency in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security administers the program.

“Achieving a Class 1 rating is a credit to the diligence of our Engineering Services, Streets and Stormwater, and Development Services departments for their efforts to constantly improve flood mitigation in our community,” said Mayor G.T. Bynum. “Tulsa residents have the lowest flood insurance rates in the nation because of this commitment to protect lives and reduce property damage.”

Tulsa’s Class 1 rating for the National Flood Insurance Program corresponds to our No. 1 ranking for fire protection by the Insurance Services Office, also administered by FEMA. Tulsa achieved the No. 1 ISO rating citywide in 2019.

“In 2019 with a Memorandum of Understanding agreement with Broken Arrow, east Tulsa was brought into coverage with a No. 1 ISO rating,” Fire Chief Michael Baker said. “Now with Fire Station 33 under construction in east Tulsa, we can provide not only improved fire and life safety protection, but also ensure stable insurance rates for homeowners.”

For the National Flood Insurance Program, Tulsa is one of only two communities nationwide to achieve a Class 1 rating, out of more than 1,500 cities and counties that participate in the voluntary Community Rating System. Only one other city, Roseville, Calif., has achieved a Class 1 rating. The scale ranges from Class 10, with no flood insurance discount, to Class 1, with a 45-percent discount.

“The Class 1 rating in the Community Rating System recognizes the City’s accomplishment of a comprehensive stormwater management program,” said City Engineer Paul Zachary. “To maintain this Class 1 rating will require an ongoing public and private commitment to develop, operate and maintain the stormwater system, both structural and open space. This No. 1 rating is in stark contrast to a time when the City, in the 1970s and 1980s, was number one nationally in the number of federally declared disasters – nine times in 15 years.”

Activities in the Community Rating System are organized in four main categories: public information, mapping and regulations, flood damage reduction, and warning and response. Stormwater management, drainage system maintenance and floodplain development regulations all contribute to Tulsa’s Class 1 rating, which stays in effect for a three-year cycle.

City of Tulsa Engineering Services, Streets and Stormwater, Development Services and Park and Recreation departments, along with the Tulsa Area Emergency Management Agency, work together to increase Tulsa’s safety from floods. In addition, the Stormwater Drainage Hazard Mitigation Advisory Board and the Infrastructure Development Advisory Board provide insight from community volunteers with professional expertise.