Determining if Your Property is In or Out of a Flood Zone
The Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) is the official map of a community on which the Mitigation Division Administrator has delineated both the special hazard areas and the risk premium zones applicable to the community. Since the 1970s, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has been creating, storing, and updating flood hazard maps for the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) communities across the United States. They are the primary tool for state and local governments to mitigate the effects of flooding in their communities. A variety of information can be found on the flood map, including: common physical features, such as major highways, secondary roads, lakes, railroads, streams, other waterways, Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHA), base flood elevation (BFE) or depths, flood insurance risk zones and areas subject to inundation by the 500-year flood.
To prepare the flood maps that illustrate the extent of flood hazard in a flood prone community, FEMA generally conducts engineering studies referred to as Flood Insurance Studies (FISs). Using the information gathered in these studies, FEMA engineers and cartographers delineate Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHA) on Flood Maps. Special Flood Hazard Areas are subject to inundation by a flood that has a 1-percent or greater chance of being equaled or exceeded during any given year. This type of flood commonly is referred to as the 100-year flood or base flood.
If you want to quickly lookup whether a particular property is in or out of the Flood Zone go to the FEMA Map Service Center; input the street address, city, state, zip code and click “Search by Street Address”. The applicable flood zone information will display. The DFIRM is not an official flood map.