Reading the FIRM

FIRM Instructions

  1. To get access to the FEMA Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRM), click on here.
  2. Once open, click "Map Search".
  3. Enter Address, City, State, and Zip Code.
  4. Click "go".
    FEMA Flood Map Store, screen shot 2
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  5. You may or may not be presented with a list of multiple address choices. If so, click on one of the choice numbers to proceed.
  6. FEMA Flood Map Store, screen shot 3
  7. A new window (The FEMA Flood Map Store) will appear. If you move the window out of the way, the window below it shows the exact map panel number for the entered address.
  8. FEMA Flood Map Store, screen shot 4
  9. The FEMA Flood Map Store window may show multiple map panel numbers. Use the map panel number from step #6 to locate the Map Item ID for the selected address. You will need to click "View" to open the map.
  10. FEMA Flood Map Store, screen shot 5
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  11. Once the map is open, you can locate your property. The map may be enlarged by clicking on "Zoom Win". The "Pan" function may also be used to move the map around.
  12. To save an electronic version of the FIRM specific for your property, click on "Make a FIRMette."
    FEMA Flood Map Store, screen shot 6
  13. Then:
    1. Select a page size.
    2. Select the red selection rectangle and move the rectangle over your property.
    3. Create the FIRMette by clicking on either the Adobe PDF or the Image File icon.
  14. FEMA Flood Map Store, screen shot 7
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  15. Click "Save your FIRMette". Once saved, you may then print a copy of your FIRMette which contains the following essential information:
    1. Map Number
    2. Date of Map Revised
    3. Community Number
    4. Flood Zone Areas
      FEMA Flood Map Store, screen shot 8
FIRM MAP LEGEND
Solid dark gray box SPECIAL FLOOD HAZARD AREAS INUNDATED BY 100-YEAR FLOOD Flood insurance is required for communities in this shaded area.
Zone A No base flood elevation determined.
Zone AE Base flood elevation determined.
Zone AH Flood depths of 1 to 3 feet (usually areas of ponding); base flood elevation determined.
Zone AO Flood depths of 1 to 3 feet (usually sheet flow on sloping terrain); average depths determined. For areas of alluvial fan flooding, velocities also determined.
Zone A99 To be protected from 100-year flood by Federal flood protection system under construction; no base elevation determined.
Zone V Coastal flood with velocity hazard (wave action); no base flood elevation determined.
Zone VE Coastal flooding; base flood elevation determined.
Striped gray box FLOOD AREAS IN ZONE AE
Light gray box OTHER FLOOD AREAS Flood insurance is NOT required for communities in this shaded area.
Zone X Areas of 500-year flood; areas of 100-year flood with average depths of less than 1 foot or with drainage areas less than 1 square mile; and areas protected by levees from 100-year flood.
White box OTHER AREAS Flood insurance is NOT required for communities in this area
Zone X Areas determined to be outside 500-year floodplain.
Zone D Areas in which flood hazards are undetermined.

FEMA tutorial on how to read the FIRM.

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