“Flood Safe Home”: a web-based interactive decision-making tool for optimal freeboard recommendations to enhance flood resilience

Authors: Jiyoung Lee*, Louisiana State University, Shifat Mithila, Louisiana State University, Rubayet Mostafiz, Louisiana State University, Yongcheol Lee, Louisiana State University, Carol Friedland, Louisiana State University, Ehab Gnan, Louisiana State University, Robert Rohli, Louisiana State University, Monica Farris, University of New Orleans, Arash Taghinezhad, Louisiana State University, Pamela Jenkins, University of New Orleans, Hoang Tao, University of New Orleans
Topics: Hazards, Risks, and Disasters, Hazards and Vulnerability
Keywords: Flood; Freeboard; Decision-making; Louisiana
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/9/2021
Start / End Time: 4:40 PM / 5:55 PM
Room: Virtual 9
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Flooding is one of the most common and widespread hazards experienced worldwide. Not only do floods negatively impact our economy but they also pose a threat to human life. A cost-effective solution to mitigate flood damage is to incorporate freeboard, which elevates the lowest floor of a building above the minimum required for construction. Nevertheless, it is challenging to pinpoint an optimal cost-effective height of freeboard and obtain customized flood risk information via existing systems or disaster portals. Therefore, we aim to build a decision-making process that can provide customized flood risk information and freeboard strategies. The main objective of this paper is to demonstrate the implementation of an interactive decision-making website (Flood Safe Home) for Jefferson, St. Tammany, and Terrebonne Parishes, Louisiana, that provides customized information about optimal freeboard based on construction cost, insurance premiums, and flood risk reduction. The website solicits location, number of stories, and building square footage from users, and returns synthesized information instrumental to their decision. Specifically, the proposed system allows users to make a risk-informed decision by providing elevation costs, insurance savings per year, reduction in expected flood losses per year, time to recover the elevation costs, and lifetime benefits of the elevation. Thus, through this interactive decision-making website, we identify the economic advantages of increased freeboard and an optimized solution to reduce flood damage by increasing building elevation for new construction.

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