Reading Flood Insurance Rate Maps

Governments use flood insurance rate maps (FIRMs) to plan flood abatement programs and determine how to manage areas that are prone to flooding.

FIRM Availability

FIRMs are maintained by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and available online for access by various interest groups. The information provided in the FIRM helps in planning efforts and is especially useful for lenders and individuals who may consider the purchase of a home in a designated flood zone.

Online FIRM Tutorial


There is an online tutorial available on the FEMA website that helps you understand how to read a FIRM. The tutorial uses the Macromedia Flash Player and explores every aspect of the FIRMs. There information on how the FIRM is created, the designation of a flood zone and ways in which the FIRM can be changed to reflect new information about flooding. If you have concerns about the area that you are purchasing a new home or need information about flood conditions, you should use the reading application in order to learn more about FIRMs.

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