Document Library

This page features documents referenced throughout this website and other publications that will help you understand coastal flood risk, flood mapping efforts underway to help reduce this risk, the flood hazard data available to you, and the actions you can take to reduce flood risk.

Building and Recovery
Coastal Flood Study
Flood Hazards and Mapping
Flood Insurance
Floodplain Management
Mitigation
Preparedness

Building and Recovery

Building Codes Toolkit
This toolkit explains building codes, their value to occupant safety and community resilience, as well as tools and resources for a variety of audiences, including property owners and the general public.

Building Higher in Flood Zones: Freeboard – Reduce Your Risk, Reduce Your Premium
This fact sheet provides information about the benefits of freeboard, which is a term used by FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) to describe a factor of safety usually expressed in feet above the 1-percent-annual-chance flood level. The NFIP requires the lowest floor of structures built in Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHAs) to be at or above the Base Flood Elevation (BFE), so a structure built with freeboard would have its lowest floor 1 foot or more above the BFE. Adding freeboard will reduce NFIP insurance premiums.

Building Science Support and Code Changes Aiding Sandy Recovery
This fact sheet describes some of the recovery activities that have focused on increasing resilience of buildings and the lifeline infrastructure following Hurricane Sandy.

Catalog of FEMA Wind, Flood, and Wildfire Publications, Training Courses, and Workshops
This catalog contains a listing with brief descriptions of publications, courses, and workshops developed by the Building Science Section of FEMA’s Federal Insurance and Mitigation Administration (FIMA). Publications include recovery advisories (hurricane, tornado, and wildfire), Mitigation Assessment Team reports (hurricanes and tornadoes), natural hazard Risk Management Series publications, technical bulletins, brochures, training courses, and workshops.

Coastal Construction Manual: Principles and Practices of Planning, Siting, Designing, Constructing, and Maintaining Residential Buildings in Coastal Areas
This two-volume publication provides a comprehensive approach to planning, siting, designing, constructing, and maintaining homes in the coastal environment.

Engineering Principles and Practices of Retrofitting Floodprone Residential Structures
The third edition of this document is intended to further aid homeowners in selecting and successfully executing a flood retrofit on their home. Elevation, relocation, dry floodproofing, wet floodproofing, and the use of levees and floodwalls to mitigate flood hazards are discussed.

Rebuilding After Sandy
The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection fact sheet that provides answers to frequently asked questions about rebuilding for New Jersey homeowners.

FEMA Building Science Resources to Assist with Reconstruction After Hurricane Sandy
FEMA has produced numerous publications detailing best practices for natural hazard mitigation associated with hurricane impacts. This flyer summarizes a few of the readily available publications and resources that can be used by homeowners during reconstruction following Hurricane Sandy.

Homeowner’s Guide to Retrofitting
This guide developed by FEMA is for homeowners who want to know how to protect their homes from flooding.This guide provides clear information about the options available and straightforward guidance to help make decisions, in a form designed for readers who have little or no experience with flood protection methods or building construction techniques.

Home Builder’s Guide to Coastal Construction
FEMA produced this series of 37 fact sheets to provide technical guidance and recommendations concerning the construction of coastal residential buildings. The fact sheets present information aimed at improving the performance of buildings subject to flood and wind forces in coastal environments.

Hurricane Sandy Recovery Advisories
The FEMA Mitigation Assessment Team studying the damages of Hurricane Sandy developed seven Recovery Advisories that offer measures that can be taken to minimize damage to buildings.

Hurricane Sandy Road to Recovery: A New York Homeowner’s Guide
This FEMA guide informs homeowners affected by Hurricane Sandy of different options and resources available for recovery.

If Your Home or Business has been Flooded: Build Back Safer and Stronger: What You Need to Know
This brochure provides information regarding changes to the National Flood Insurance Program as a result of the Biggert-Waters National Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012, which has since been modified by the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014; how to reduce risk and premiums; and how to manage future flood risks.

Local Officials Guide for Coastal Construction
This document was developed to assist building officials in understanding the connection between National Flood Insurance Program guidelines, the International Building Code, and the International Residential Code. Additionally, flood and wind provisions of both ASCE 7-05 and ASCE 24-05 are presented and discussed. The guide also explores building performance and real-life success and failures following recent storm events and recommends design and construction “best practices” where appropriate.

Natural Hazards and Sustainability for Residential Buildings
This FEMA publication examines current green building rating systems in a broader context. It identifies green building practices—the tools of today’s green building rating systems—that are different from historical residential building practices and that, unless implemented with an understanding of their interactions with the rest of the structure, have the potential to compromise a building’s resistance to natural hazard events. This document discusses how to retain or improve natural hazard resistance while incorporating these green building practices.

Recommended Residential Construction for Coastal Areas: Building on Strong and Safe Foundations
Every storm has shown that, while good design and construction cannot completely eliminate risk, they can significantly reduce the risk to life and damage to property. This FEMA-prepared design manual provides recommended designs and guidance for rebuilding homes destroyed by hurricanes in the Gulf Coast. The manual also provides guidance in designing and building less vulnerable new homes that reduce the risk to life and property.

Substantial Damage Estimator Best Practices
This document provides suggested approaches for dealing with some of the challenging situations users may encounter while using the FEMA-developed Substantial Damage Estimator (SDE). SDE is designed to help Federal, State, and local officials manage data collection and assessment of substantial damage. Often the complexity of field conditions, limited access to technology, or inspection work in the field present situations that require additional organization and planning. This document contains suggested solutions to some common situations SDE users may encounter.

Substantial Improvement/Substantial Damage Desk Reference
To participate in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), communities must adopt and enforce regulations and codes that apply to new development in Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHAs). Local floodplain management regulations and codes contain minimum NFIP requirements that apply not only to new structures, but also to existing structures which are “Substantially Improved (SI)” or “Substantially Damaged (SD).” This Desk Reference provides practical guidance and suggested procedures to implement the NFIP requirements for SI/SD.

Wind Retrofit Guide for Residential Buildings
This guide provides guidance on how to improve the wind resistance of existing residential buildings in Mississippi and across the Gulf Coast. Although this guide was developed to support initiatives in the Gulf Coast region, the content of this document should serve as guidance on retrofitting existing buildings for improved performance during high-wind events in all coastal regions.

Coastal Flood Study

Data

Region II Coastal Flood Study Data Sharing
Field reconnaissance, storm surge, and wave height data for the Atlantic coast used to prepare the preliminary FIRMs is available at this ftp location, organized by state/county. FEMA also produced a series of fact sheets that describe these data sets, including:

New York/New Jersey Coastal Storm Surge Study Technical Reports
FEMA’s series of Coastal Storm Surge Study technical reports summarize the new storm surge modeling carried out to support FIRM updates for New Jersey and New York coastal communities. The Coastal Storm Surge Study fact sheet provides a summary of these technical reports.

FEMA Region III Storm Surge Study Reports
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has prepared the following series of Coastal Storm Surge Study reports for a coastal flood study affecting communities in FEMA Region III. This study also affects several counties in New Jersey, including Salem, Gloucester, and Camden.

Tools and Products

Risk MAP Flood Risk Products Fact Sheet
Risk MAP will provide State and community officials with non-regulatory flood risk products to help them gain a better understanding of flood risk and its potential impact on communities and individuals. These products and datasets will also enable communities to take proper mitigation actions to reduce this risk. Refer to this factsheet to learn more about each product and dataset.

Flood Risk Tools
This document provides an overview of the flood risk products and tools that FEMA provides to communities to help them better understand their natural hazard risks, prepare hazard mitigation plans, and communicate about flood risks with residents and business owners.

Preliminary FIRMs

Using the FEMA GeoPlatform Preliminary Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) Data Viewer
Provides an overview of the Preliminary FIRM Data Viewers, which allow users to view preliminary FIRM and FIS report data for individual coastal New York and New Jersey communities.

Flood Hazard Mapping Status Report and Mapping Fact Sheets
This series of community-specific fact sheets provides background information on the National Flood Insurance Program administered by FEMA, an overview of the flood hazard mapping process, and details about the areas affected by the map update underway for each community that a preliminary FIRM has been issued for.

Meetings and Outreach

Presentation Archive
Presentations from past community meetings about the coastal flood study presented by FEMA. These include Flood Risk Review, Consultation Coordination Officer, and other meetings related to the roll out of preliminary FIRMs.

Coastal Flood Risk Community Open House Toolkit for Local Officials
This toolkit includes key messages and communications materials FEMA Region II offers to communities to help promote an Open House meeting with community members about the preliminary FIRMs.

Summary of Outreach and Community Engagement Investments: New York/New Jersey Coastal Risk MAP Flood Study
This document summarizes community engagement and outreach efforts performed by FEMA Region II and its partners in support of the New Jersey/New York coastal flood study and demonstrates FEMA’s commitment to future proactive outreach and community engagement under the Risk MAP program.

Preliminary Work Maps

Note: For most New Jersey and New York communities, preliminary work maps have now been replaced by preliminary FIRMs as the most recent flood hazard data available from FEMA.

Interpreting New Jersey Preliminary Work Maps
This fact sheet provides information about the specific types of coastal flood study data New Jersey communities will receive and provides guidance on how communities can use the data to better understand their own flood risk, use as a tool in the decision making process, and to plan for mitigation activities.

Interpreting New York City Preliminary Work Maps
This fact sheet provides information about the specific types of coastal flood study data New York City will receive and provides guidance on how communities can use the data to better understand their own flood risk, use as a tool in the decision making process, and to plan for mitigation activities.

New Jersey Preliminary Work Map Rollout Presentations
Presentations that provide information about the release of the preliminary work maps in New Jersey.

Advisory Base Flood Elevation (ABFE) Maps

Note: For most New Jersey and New York communities, ABFE maps have now been replaced by preliminary FIRMs as the most recent flood hazard data available from FEMA.

ABFE Information for New Jersey and New York: Glossary of Map Layers and Key Terms
Document featuring descriptions of the data layers shown on FEMA’s Advisory maps.

ABFEs in Rockland County, New York
Provides information about the release of ABFEs in Rockland County.

Hurricane Sandy Advisory Base Flood Elevations (ABFEs)
Provides an overview of ABFEs, including information regarding how data was compiled, where the information will be available, and key contact information.

New York/New Jersey Coastal Advisory Flood Hazard Information Development
This report documents the methodologies, assumptions, and data sources used to develop the ABFE information and associated map products.

Flood Hazards and Mapping

Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico Coastal Guidelines Update
This FEMA report provides comprehensive coastal methodology guidelines for analyzing and mapping coastal flood hazards for the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico coasts.

Introduction to Storm Surge
Storm surge is the change in the water level due to the presence of a storm, which can cause flooding. Learn more about the causes, the factors that influence storm surge, and how to measure it through this National Weather Service publication.

Importance of the Limit of Moderate Wave Action (LiMWA)
This fact sheet describes the LiMWA, which is the inland limit of the area expected to receive 1.5-foot or greater breaking waves during the 1-percent-annual-chance flood event.

Primary Frontal Dunes
This fact sheet highlights general information about Primary Frontal Dunes (PFDs) as well as how FEMA assesses and accounts for PFDs during coastal flood hazard mapping studies. The fact sheet also defines common terms related to coastal flood hazard mapping studies and provides helpful links on FEMA.gov.

Coastal Barrier Resources Act (CBRA)
CBRA protects coastal areas that serve as barriers against wind and tidal forces caused by coastal storms, and serve as habitat for aquatic species. This fact sheet outlines the responsibilities and restrictions that various programs within FEMA have under CBRA.

Risk Mapping, Assessment, and Planning (Risk MAP) Program Guidance Documents
These guidance documents support current FEMA standards and facilitate implementation of the Risk MAP program.

What Is Risk MAP?
This fact sheet offers an overview of the Risk MAP program. This overview includes the Risk Map Vision, Multi-Year Plan, and a summary of each piece of the Risk MAP Solution. The vision for Risk MAP is to deliver precise and accurate data that increases public awareness and leads to action that reduces risk to life and property.

Appeals

Criteria for Appeals of Flood Insurance Rate Maps
This document outlines the criteria for appealing proposed changes in flood hazard information on preliminary Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) during the appeal period. FEMA applies rigorous standards in developing and updating flood hazard information and provides communities and the public with an opportunity to review and provide feedback on the updated flood hazard information presented on new or revised FIRMs before they become final.

Please note that the FEMA Standards for Flood Risk Analysis and Mapping publication (see pages 74 – 75) serves as the authoritative policy and standards documentation available from FEMA and takes precedence over other guidance documents. The Criteria for Appeals of Flood Insurance Rate Maps publication supplements the FEMA standards and serves as the most detailed source of guidance related to appeal submittal requirements and processing.

Appeals and Comments on Preliminary Flood Insurance Rate Maps
This fact sheet provides an overview of the process for submitting an appeal or comment on preliminary FEMA map products developed as part of the Region II coastal flood study.

Submission of Appeals and Comments on Preliminary Work Maps and Preliminary FIRMs
This guide provides guidance for how to submit an appeal or comment on preliminary FIRMs and Flood Insurance Study reports.

FEMA Region II Preliminary Flood Map Feedback Portal: Step-by-Step Guide for Local Community Officials
This guide walks community officials through how to use the FEMA Region II Preliminary Flood Map Feedback Portal to submit and track appeals and comments on the coastal flood study for their community.

FEMA Region II Preliminary Flood Map Feedback Portal: Step-by-Step Guide for Members of the Public
This guide walks members of the public through how to use the FEMA Region II Preliminary Flood Map Feedback Portal to submit and track appeals and comments on the coastal flood study.

Map Adoption

Adoption of Flood Insurance Rate Maps by Participating Communities
This bulletin provides information about a community’s responsibility in adopting the Flood Insurance Rate Maps as a participant in the National Flood Insurance Program and how the overall map update process works.

Flood Insurance

Homeowner’s Guide to Elevation Certificates
This fact sheet provides valuable information for homeowners about FEMA Elevation Certificates and flood insurance.

Your Homeowner Insurance Doesn’t Cover Floods
This brochure warns homeowners that most homeowners’ insurance policies do not cover floods. It also explains that Federal disaster assistance cannot be relied on for flood events because most floods are not nationally declared disasters. Only Federal flood insurance reimburses homeowners for flood damage to property.

Flood Insurance Reform Legislation

Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014
This fact sheet provides an overview of the changes to flood insurance rates under the National Flood Insurance Program.

Changes to the National Flood Insurance Program – What to Expect
This presentation provides information about the impacts of the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014 and changes to the National Flood Insurance Program.

Flood Insurance for Businesses: Impacts of Recent Legislation
This fact sheet provides an overview of the changes business owners should expect, as the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) implements reforms as required by the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014 and the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012.

Flood Insurance Premium Refunds
This fact sheet provides an overview of what some eligible policyholders can expect in refunds as the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014 is implemented.

How April 2015 Program Changes Will Affect Flood Insurance Premiums

The National Flood Insurance Program is in the process of implementing Congressionally mandated reforms required by the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014 that repeal and modify the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012. Flood insurance rates and other charges will be revised for new or existing policies beginning on April 1, 2015, and a summary of those changes are included in this fact sheet.

Newly Mapped Procedure Fact Sheet

Property owners of buildings newly mapped into a high-risk area were able to ease the transition of the new flood insurance requirement by purchasing a lower-cost policy under the Preferred Risk Policy Eligibility Extension (PRP EE). But effective April 1, 2015, FEMA has implemented the Newly Mapped Procedure to meet the requirements of the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014 and the PRP EE will be transitioning to this new procedure. This fact sheet offers insurance agents important information about the Newly Mapped Procedure, how property owners can take advantage of this rating option after a map change, and how policies previously issued under the PRP EE will transition.

Increased Cost of Compliance

Increased Cost of Compliance (ICC) Coverage
ICC coverage is one of several resources for flood insurance policyholders who need additional help rebuilding after a flood. It provides up to $30,000 to help cover the cost of mitigation measures that will reduce flood risk. ICC coverage is a part of most standard flood insurance policies available under FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program.

Increased Cost of Compliance Coverage: How You Can Benefit
This brochure explains the benefits offered by the Increased Cost of Compliance coverage.

Spanish Resources

Su Seguro de Vivienda de Residencia no Cubre Inundaciones (Your Homeowners Insurance Doesn’t Cover Floods)
This brochure warns homeowners that most homeowners’ insurance policies do not cover floods. It also explains that Federal disaster assistance cannot be relied on for flood events because most floods are not nationally declared disasters. Only Federal flood insurance reimburses homeowners for flood damage to property.

Floodplain Management

Floodplain Management Requirements: A Study Guide and Desk Reference for Local Officials
This study guide and desk reference can be used as a study guide to enhance the knowledge and skills of local officials responsible for administering and enforcing local floodplain management regulations. It is also intended to broaden their understanding of floodplain management strategies that can be applied at the local level.

Increased Cost of Compliance (ICC) Coverage: Guidance for State and Local Officials
Provides information on the Increased Cost of Compliance coverage and how it relates to communities’ administration of floodplain management laws or ordinances following a flooding event.

Mitigation

Avoiding Hurricane Damage: A Checklist for Homeowners
Preparing for hurricane season means more than just making a disaster kit and reviewing your family‘s disaster plan, although those are critical first steps. Discover what else you can do to protect your home and your family before a hurricane hits.

Become CRS “Ready”
If your community is interested in joining the Community Rating System (CRS), read this fact sheet developed by FEMA Region II to see how to get started.

Local Mitigation Planning Handbook
The Local Mitigation Planning Handbook is the official guide for local governments to develop, update and implement local mitigation plans. It also offers practical approaches, tools, worksheets, and local mitigation planning examples for how communities can engage in effective planning to reduce long-term risk from natural hazards and disasters. The Handbook complements the Local Mitigation Plan Review Guide, which is the official guidance for Federal and State officials responsible for reviewing local mitigation plans.

Mitigation Ideas: A Resource for Reducing Risk from Natural Hazards
The purpose of this document is to provide a resource that communities can use to identify and evaluate a range of potential mitigation actions for reducing risk to natural hazards and disasters. Ideas for mitigation actions are presented for the following natural hazards: drought, earthquake, erosion, extreme temperatures, flood, hail, landslide, lightning, sea level rise, severe wind, severe winter weather, storm surge, subsidence, tornado, tsunami, and wildfire.

Mitigation Planning
This fact sheet provides an overview of hazard mitigation planning, which is the process State, local, and tribal governments use to identify risks and vulnerabilities associated with natural disasters; develop long-term strategies for protecting people and property in future hazard events; and produce a hazard mitigation plan as a condition for receiving certain types of non-emergency disaster assistance, including funding for mitigation projects.

Mitigation Works
FEMA encourages and supports to efforts of States and local communities to reduce the impact of disasters. Mitigation saves money. Every dollar invested in mitigation saves the nation an average of four dollars. This brochure explains how.

Protecting Your Home and Property From Flood Damage
This publication presents ways homeowners can take action to reduce flood loss.

Ready New York: Reduce Your Risk guide
This guide was developed by the New York City Office of Emergency Management to help residents protect their property from a variety of hazards, including flooding and coastal storms, tornadoes, extreme heat and cold, and more.

Retrofitting Buildings for Flood Risk report
The New York City Department of City Planning developed this comprehensive analysis of retrofit options available for buildings in the New York City floodplain.

The Unified Hazard Mitigation Assistance Grant Programs
This fact sheet provides a brief description of FEMA hazard mitigation assistance programs and availability.

Spanish Resources

Asistencia De Mitigacion Contra Inundaciones (Mitigating Flood Impacts)

Cómo Proteger Su Vivienda Y Propiedad De Los Daños Ocasionados Por Inundaciones (Protecting your Home and Property from Flood Damage)
This publication presents ways homeowners can take action to reduce flood loss.

Preparedness

Flood Preparation and Safety
Floods can happen anytime and anywhere. They can also happen fast. This brochure presents tips to prepare for flooding.

Spanish Resources

Preparación y Seguridad en Inundaciones (Flood Preparation and Safety)
This brochure presents tips to prepare for flooding.