Critical facilities are the structures and services that are crucial to the health and welfare of a community. They include:

  • Police and fire stations.
  • Community vehicle and equipment storage facilities.
  • Emergency operations centers.
  • Hospitals, nursing homes, and housing likely to have occupants who are unable to evacuate without assistance.
  • Water supply and wastewater treatment facilities.
  • Schools and evacuation centers.
  • Power and communication facilities and systems.
  • Facilities that produce, use, or store highly volatile, flammable, explosive, or toxic materials.

Whenever possible, critical facilities should be designed and constructed so that they aren’t compromised during floods, hurricanes, or other hazard events—which is when they are needed most. Remember, that these facilities must be operable—not just safe—during storm events. An elevated fire station is of little use if the access roads to it are too flooded to allow the trucks to leave. Funding should be allocated to upgrade existing facilities that are improperly designed or sited. For more information see retrofitting existing structures.


* Your community needs only 500 points to qualify for reduced flood insurance premiums through the Community Rating System (CRS). For more information (including how to apply for the CRS program), see our Community Rating System (CRS) primer.

Notes from the folks at CRS:

“Credit is available where critical facilities are prohibited from the 500-year floodplain.”

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