FEMA Background

NFIP, SFHA & FIRM

The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) was created by Congress to allow property owners to purchase federally backed flood insurance within communities that participate in the Program.  The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), part of the Department of Homeland Security, manages the NFIP.

In its management of the NFIP, FEMA prepares flood insurance studies of the subject community and generates a flood risk assessment.  These studies also result in the preparation of a Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRM) which depict any Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHA) in a specific community. 

Special Flood Hazard Areas are those areas subject to inundation by a flood having a one percent or greater probablity of being equaled or exceeded during any given year.  This flood is commonly referred to as the 100 year flood, or base flood, which is the standard on which the NFIP insurance requirements are based.

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