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Boulder, Colorado's Home Preparedness Assessment Program

City of Boulder

Boulder, CO

The Home Preparedness Assessment Pilot Program tested the effectiveness of educating homeowners about home and personal preparedness against flood and other local natural hazards (drought and fire) and identifying potential home improvements through an in-home assessment.

Topics Covered

Stormwater Management
Water Supply & Drought
Wildfire

Cost

Initial: 215 Thousand USD

Funding

Grants

Project Status

Operational since 2017

Gov Champion

Public Works, Watershed Sustainability, Resilience

Problem Addressed

February 2014 FEMA Impact Estimates showed that 10,588 (58%) of homes damaged in Colorado’s September 2013 Floods were located in Boulder County.

Of those, 6,086 (33%) were located in the City of Boulder. While many homeowners have rebuilt since the floods, they may not have taken measures to adequately flood-proof their homes and enhance resilience. Additionally, they will likely continue to experience flooding impacts due to elevated groundwater levels, damaged sewer laterals, landscaping issues, improperly installed or leaking irrigation systems, insufficient rebuilding techniques and similar issues that fail to prevent continued flood-related damages. In addition to flood, the regional drought concerns and wildfires of 2012 and 2013 demonstrated that both the City and County could benefit from “resilience” planning that address flood, fire and drought.

Solutions Used

The program achieved a 40% conversion rate (defined as percent of participants who implemented an improvement).

Despite this relatively strong conversion rate, there are still many areas to increase resiliency in pilot participants’ homes. The data analysis showed that almost all participants (96%) had experienced prior damage to their homes as a result of natural disaster. Roof damage and sewer backups resulting from flooding were the most prevalent. Aside from physical factors of the home and property, it was clear there was also room to increase participants’ personal resiliency. Most participants only felt moderately prepared for the next disaster. The majority of participants who were interviewed expressed preference for the current program design (in-home assessment) versus an online format or brochures. They believed they received value from having an expert assess their home, to find, confirm, or reaffirm areas that needed improvement, and that they would not have received as much value in other formats.

Outcomes

1

In total, 103 homes received assessments and 40% of participants (41 participants) applied for and received rebates for qualified improvements.

2

The average score of 103 program participants was 21.7 out of a total of 80 possible pts (where lower represents greater resilience), indicating that there are many opportunities to increase resiliency at home.

3

The most frequent recommendations were sewer/septic inspection and repair (79) and smart landscaping (77).

4

Most participants felt only moderately prepared for the next disaster (52), and 61% were not aware that they were in a high hazard area

Something Unique

The grant sought to identify flood recovery opportunities in Boulder and help residents implement tangible measures to make their homes more resilient to future floods, fires, and droughts by providing an on-site specialist to discuss and identify opportunities to reduce risk from these hazards.

Who Should Consider

The assessment can be tailored to any community that seeks to empower residents to improve their own resilience to multiple hazards: drought, flood, wildfire, earthquake, etc.

Last Updated

Jun 10th, 2022
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