The Map Update Process

FEMA has completed the revised coastal study analyses taking into account feedback from community officials received during the Discovery process and has prepared work maps based on the study results. These work maps are an interim or “draft” version that FEMA is sharing with community officials before the release of the preliminary FIRMs. The work maps are intended to help communities and property owners understand current flood risk and likely flood insurance requirements in the future. The release of this information will also provide local officials with an opportunity to review and comment on areas in their community where they may believe the flood risks shown on the maps are not accurate. Following Flood Risk Review meetings with community officials to review the work maps, FEMA will take input received into consideration and then release preliminary FIRMs.

After the release of the preliminary FIRM, there are certain steps that must happen before it can become a community’s official FIRM.  The FIRM adoption process requires a 90-day appeal period in order to ensure for local input. During the appeal period, community officials and the public can submit scientific or technical information to FEMA if they believe the preliminary FIRM should be revised. After all appeals have been resolved, FEMA will finalize the maps. A Letter of Final Determination sent to community officials starts a 6-month period during which the community must adopt the new FIRM. The FIRM will then become effective and serve as the basis for flood insurance rates, purchase requirements, and local building regulations.