What is the NFIP?
Congress established the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) due to escalating costs to taxpayers for flood disaster
relief. The NFIP is based on the agreement that if a community practices sound floodplain management, the Federal Government
will make flood insurance available to residents in that community. FEMA maps include the Special Flood Hazard Area, which
is the area that has a 1% or greater chance of flooding in any given year. Development may take place within the Special Flood
Hazard Area provided that it complies with local floodplain ordinances that meet NFIP criteria.
What is a FIRM?
When FEMA maps flood hazards in a community or county, two products are produced a Flood Insurance Study (FIS) report and
a Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM). An FIS is a narrative report of the community’s flood hazards that contains prior
flooding information, descriptions of the flooding sources, information on flood protection measures, and a description of
the hydrologic and hydraulic methods used in the study. A FIRM illustrates the extent of flood hazards in a community by depicting
flood risk zones and the Special Flood Hazard Area, and is used with the FIS report to determine the floodplain development
regulations that apply in each flood risk zone and who must buy flood insurance. FIRMs also depict other information including
Base (1% annual chance) Flood Elevations (BFEs) or flood depths, floodways, and common physical features such as roads.
Why Are the Maps Being Updated?
The most significant change to the countywide FIRMs is that the new maps will have an updated base map that will improve
the accuracy of floodplain determinations. With this update we have produced a Digital Flood Insurance Rate Map that will
be compatible with GIS (Geographic Information Systems). The improvements in spatial accuracy provided by the new base map,
and the availability of electronic floodplain information should greatly enhance the ability to use the maps for planning,
permitting, and insurance applications. The digital files will be available when these maps become effective.