The Federal Emergency Management Agency
provides all participating communities with copies
of their flood maps. The maps are generally kept in
community planning or building permit departments
where they should be available for review.
Additional information about flood maps can be
obtained at the FEMA Flood Map Service Center
(MSC) website. The MSC is
the official public source for flood hazard information
produced in support of the National Flood Insurance
A. Types of Flood Maps
FEMA produces 2 types of maps for rating flood
insurance. For detailed information, refer to Answers to
Questions About the NFIP.
1. Flood Hazard Boundary Map – Initial flood
hazard identification generally used for Emergency
2. Flood Insurance Rate Map – Generally used
for Regular Program communities. Some Regular
Program communities may use a map originally
published as an FHBM; however, a letter will
accompany the map in conjunction with conversion
to the Regular Program stating that the map is to
be considered a FIRM.
Countywide FIRMs are official sources of flood risk
data for several communities that supersede all
previous versions of the FEMA flood hazard maps
for the communities covered. Countywide FIRMs
show flooding information for the entire geographic
area of a county, including the incorporated
communities within the county.
B. Map Information
The date of the current effective map version for a
community can be obtained by calling the appropriate
community official or by calling the National Flood
Insurance Program office at the toll-free
number. Maps provide community name, community
number, suffix, panel number, map type, and the map
effective date. (See FIRM panel example at the end of
1. The maps may have 1 panel or multiple panels.
Most Z-fold maps have multiple panels. Flat maps
generally consist of only 1 panel.
2. For multiple-panel maps, individual panels are
identified on a community map index.
3. Panel numbers are listed for that community’s
map in numerical sequence. FHBMs and FIRMs
are drawn to show:
• Community boundaries;
• Special Flood Hazard Areas; and
• Areas not included in a community’s map. A
community may be physically located within the
overall geographical area, but actually stand on
its own as a separate community. Therefore, this
community would be shown on a separate map.
4. Each panel has a panel number and community
number. When there is only 1 panel,
the community number will consist of only 6 digits.
Example: Monterey County, CA 060195-1025 (The
first 2 digits of the number identify the state
and the next 4 digits identify the community.
The last 4 digits identify the map panel.)
5. Most FIRMs also show:
• Flood Zones;
• Base Flood Elevations; and/or
• Base Flood Depths.
C. Communities with Unpublished Maps
These are communities without formally identified
SFHAs that chose to have flood insurance coverage
available even though the local flooding problems
are too small to map. For any such community in the
Regular Program, all areas within that community are
treated as Zone C or X.
D. Unmapped Areas in Communities with Maps
The flood hazards for some areas within mapped
communities remain undetermined and are unmapped.
These unmapped areas are to be treated as Zone D.
The designation of Zone D can also be used for rating
when a community incorporates portions of another
community’s area where no map has been prepared.
II. MAP ZONES
A. Special Flood Hazard Areas
1. Zone A
The lowest floor elevation is required and the Base
Flood Elevations are not provided.
2. Zones A1–A30
The lowest floor elevation is required and the BFEs
MAP 1 APRIL 1, 2017
3. Zone AE
Used in place of A1–A30 on some maps.
4. Zone AH
Shallow water depths and/or
unpredictable flow paths between 1 and 3 feet
occur. BFEs are provided.
5. Zone AO
Shallow water paths and/or
unpredictable flow paths between 1 and 3 feet
occur. BFEs are not provided. Base flood depths
may be provided.
6. Zone A99
Enough progress has been made on a protective
system such as dikes, dams, and levees to consider
it complete for insurance rating purposes. BFEs
are not provided. For the purpose of determining
Community Rating System premium
discounts, all AR and A99 Zones are treated as
7. Zone AR
Area that results from the decertification of a
previously accredited flood protection system
that is determined to be in the process of being
restored to provide base flood protection. For the
purpose of determining CRS premium discounts,
all AR and A99 Zones are treated as non-SFHAs.
8. Zones AR/AE, AR/AH, AR/AO, AR/A1–A30, AR/A
Dual flood zones that, because of flooding from
other water sources that the flood protection
system does not contain, will continue to be
subject to flooding after the flood protection
system is adequately restored. For the purpose of
determining CRS premium discounts, all AR and
A99 Zones are treated as non-SFHAs.
9. Zone V
An area that is inundated by tidal floods
with velocity. BFEs are
10. Zones V1–V30
Identical to V Zone, but BFEs are provided.
11. Zone VE
Used in place of V1–V30 on some maps.
B. Moderate, Minimal Hazard Areas
1. Zones B, C, and X
Areas of moderate or minimal hazard subject
to flooding from severe storm activity or local
drainage problems. These zones may be lightly
shaded or unshaded on the FIRM. Zone X is the
designation for B and C Zones and is used in place
of these zones on some maps.
2. Zone D
An area where the flood hazard is undetermined
and which usually is very sparsely populated.
The designation of Zone D can also be used for
rating when a community incorporates portions of
another community’s area where no map has been
prepared. In addition, if the map shows an area as
being unmapped, use Zone D.
III. LOCATING A SPECIFIC PROPERTY ON A MAP
• Check the map index to identify the correct map
• Directly locate the property by the address or other
information. It may help to compare the FHBM or
FIRM to a more detailed map, such as an assessor’s
map or a community street map.
• Note the map color where the property is located.
On FHBMs and FIRMs, areas darkly shaded are
the SFHAs. On an FHBM, no other zone data may
be given. On a FIRM, zones are also given an alpha
designation. The entire area within the boundaries
indicated for a zone carries that specific zone
• BFEs in SFHA zones (A1–A30 [or AE], AH, V1–V30
[or VE]) are shown within wavy lines. In some SFHA
zones, where the BFE does not vary within the entire
zone, the BFE is indicated in parentheses. If required
by terrain, a BFE for the property may be interpolated
using the closest BFE indicators. In this case, it is
important to document the finding.
IV. CHANGING OR CORRECTING A FLOOD MAP
There are 3 procedures:
A. Letter of Map Amendment
If the applicant/insured believes that the requirement
to purchase flood insurance was made in error and
there is evidence that the building is not in the SFHA
on the effective FIRM, the applicant/insured may apply
for a LOMA.
A LOMA is a determination made by FEMA for property
and/or building as to whether it is located within the
SFHA. LOMA determinations are based on the following:
• Comparing the location of the property to the SFHA.
• Comparing the elevation of the property to the
1-percent-annual-chance flood elevation.
MAP 2 APRIL 1, 2017
If, after plotting the location on the FIRM, the FEMA
examiner finds that the property and/or building is not
shown in the SFHA, then the Determination will be “Out
As Shown” rather than “Removed.” The FEMA OutAs-Shown
Determination will state that the property
or building is correctly shown outside the SFHA and,
therefore, the mandatory flood insurance requirement
does not apply.
An Out-As-Shown Determination does not require
elevations. The minimum requirements to make an
Out-As-Shown Determination are as follows:
• A photocopy of the FIRM panel (including the title
block) that shows the area in which the property
• Section A of the MT-EZ form, which is found in the
MT-EZ application package and can be obtained
from the FEMA website at https://www.fema.gov/
media-library/assets/documents/8001, or by calling
the toll-free number listed below.
• A copy of the subdivision Plat Map of the area,
showing the recordation data (i.e., Book/Volume and
Page numbers) and containing the recorder’s seal.
• A copy of the deed for the property, showing the
recordation information (i.e., Book/Volume and
Page numbers) and containing the recorder’s seal,
accompanied by a tax assessor’s or other suitable
map showing the surveyed location of the property
and at least 2 street intersections that are also
shown on FEMA’s FIRM.
In some cases, additional information may be required
to make a determination.
Questions about LOMAs may be directed to the FEMA
Map Information eXchange toll-free information
line at 1-877-FEMA-MAP.
B. Letter of Map Revision
A LOMR is an official revision to the currently effective
FEMA map. It is used to change flood zones, floodplain
and floodway delineations, flood elevations, and
planimetric features. All requests for LOMRs must be
made to FEMA through the chief executive officer of
the community, since it is the community that must
adopt any changes and revisions to the map. A LOMR
is usually followed by a physical map revision.
C. Physical Map Revision
A physical map revision is an official republication of
a map to effect changes to flood insurance zones,
floodplain delineations, flood elevations, floodways,
and planimetric features.
The community’s chief executive officer can submit
scientific and technical data to FEMA to support the
request for a map revision. The data will be analyzed,
and the map will be revised if warranted.
NOTE: To verify past rating determinations and to
establish floodplain management compliance
requirements, old maps should be retained.
V. FLOOD HAZARD PRODUCTS
Flood maps and related products can be ordered
through the FEMA MSC website (http://msc.fema.
gov) free of charge. All other related products can be
found with the integrated Search All Products feature
that allows users to find and download all products for
a geographic area. The enhanced Search By Address
feature enables download of FIRMs and Letters of Map
Change directly from the search results page.
For questions regarding the MSC website or other
flood-mapping-related questions, please visit the
self-service options on the website or contact a Map
Specialist with FMIX by calling the toll-free number,
1-877-336-2627, from 8:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., Monday
The Federal Emergency Management Agency