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We built Forerunner to meet the day-to-day floodplain management needs of our partner communities and it’s been exciting to see how our users integrate our software into their work. Hear from Elissa Commins, Floodplain Manager and co-CRS coordinator for Brick Township, NJ, to learn about how she uses Forerunner to make sure community residents stay informed and compliant.
After Hurricane Sandy, I was hired full-time by Brick Township after working as an engineer and floodplain manager for Birdsall Consulting. The Township needed someone full-time, because of the enormity of work, and I’ve been here ever since. I'm in charge of making sure the floodplain is managed properly and I’m also the co-CRS Coordinator for the Township.
Sure! I use the software in a few ways. Here’s an example from today – someone inquired about whether or not a property in Brick sustained substantial damage. When I looked into it, I found that a permit was denied for the property due to non-compliance and we didn’t have an Elevation Certificate on file. I used Forerunner’s Substantial Improvement/Substantial Damage (SI/SD) feature to make note of this. That note will help me keep track of information like this until a construction official is able to inspect the house. With Forerunner, I’m able to track unpermitted work and flood zone violations, which I can’t do in my permitting software.
I also use the software creatively when people want information about properties that don’t have an Elevation Certificate on file. I’ll look through Forerunner to find an adjacent property with an Elevation Certificate and I’ll use this to give the inquirer a relative estimation of the lowest adjacent grade, which they can compare to the Base Flood Elevation to get a sense of how high a structure needs to be for floodplain compliance. This is very useful information for somebody who’s thinking about buying or building a house.
Forerunner’s maps are always live. In the past, I’ve had to resort to paper or PDF maps when websites go down, but that’s not true with Forerunner. Having the ability to share map information with people is another huge benefit. I can't tell you how awesome the Public Property Profile feature is. It looks so professional and residents can manipulate the data to get an understanding of the differences between FIRMs. Every time someone calls now, I say “Yeah, just give me your email. I’ll show you all of the information,” and send them a Public Profile. Having information readily available to communicate to the public and to internal stakeholders is great.
I can't tell you how awesome the Public Property Profile feature is. It looks so professional and residents can manipulate the data to get an understanding of the differences between FIRMs. Every time someone calls now, I say “Yeah, just give me your email. I’ll show you all of the information,” and send them a Public Profile.
The dashboard also has street view imagery to help me better understand what a property looks like, which can be especially helpful when it sits in multiple flood zones. Forerunner provides the Design Flood Elevation and tells me if there is an Elevation Certificate on file for the property. I don’t have to go to paper documents and I don’t have to go searching through files to get a full picture of what’s going on. I can see it on my computer, it’s right there.