The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) reminds builders, home- and business owners to obtain building permits before starting cleanup, repairs, or reconstruction on properties located in a Special Flood Hazard Area or flood zone designated A or V on flood insurance rate maps. These areas have a 1% chance of flooding in any given year and approximately 25% chance of being flooded over the period of a 30-year mortgage.

If work begins in designated high-risk areas without a permit, the property owner may be fined or required to rebuild on higher ground. Other consequences of making repairs in high-risk areas without a permit may include ineligibility for insurance reimbursement and disqualification for Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and MEMA assistance.

Permits are needed to remove, alter or replace: roofs, walls, siding, plaster, cabinets, flooring, electrical systems, plumbing and heating and air-conditioning units. It is also recommended that storm-related damage be documented with photos before repair work begins to support insurance claims and requests for assistance from emergency management agencies.

Instructions for obtaining access to and interpreting information found with FEMA’s Flood Map Viewer can be found at http://geology.deq.ms.gov/floodmaps/.

Contact a local building department or floodplain administrator to obtain a building permit. Find Mississippi floodplain administrators listed by county and community at www.msema.org.