Recovery Toolkit for Community Officials

Your Source for Recovery Resources

Effective floodplain management depends on having accurate information about flood hazards before development occurs and integrating that information into regional and land use planning processes. This is especially important in the aftermath of a devastating storm such as Hurricane Sandy. The tools available below are intended to assist New Jersey and New York's community officials in comprehending and using FEMA flood hazard data to build their communities back stronger and more resilient. 
For additional assistance, please call 1-800-427-4661 or visit our Contacts page to find the right subject matter expert.

FEMA Flood Hazard Data

General Information

Provides access to available FEMA flood hazard data through online maps and the 'What is My BFE?' address lookup tool.

Provides additional information about the difference between ABFE data, preliminary work map and preliminary FIRM data and recommendations for how the data can be used.

This webpage provides answers to common questions about vertical datums and datum conversion tables for locations in New York and New Jersey.

Preliminary FIRMs

This page includes links to online map viewers showing preliminary FIRM data for coastal New Jersey and New York communities. Preliminary FIRM information is also available for viewing and download through FEMA’s Map Service Center, the official online source for preliminary and effective FIRMs.

Provides answers to Frequently Asked Questions about the preliminary FIRMs that FEMA will be issuing on rolling basis by community beginning in late 2013.

Preliminary Work Maps

"Interpreting Preliminary Work Maps" Fact Sheets for New York City and New Jersey
These fact sheets provide information about how to read and use preliminary work maps being released by FEMA prior to the issuance of preliminary Flood Insurance Rate Maps.

Technical Fact Sheet Series
Fact Sheet Series about technical data used to develop the preliminary work maps: Storm Surge GIS DataTransect Data and Field Reconnaissance, and Coastal Hazard Analysis Modeling Program (CHAMP) Database Interpretation.

Provides answers to Frequently Asked Questions about the preliminary work maps FEMA is issuing for certain communities beginning in June 2013 which show the full results of the coastal flood study.

View presentation documents providing information about the release of the preliminary work maps in New Jersey.

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.

ABFE FAQ Webpage
Answers for frequently asked questions about ABFEs.

Information about the methodologies, assumptions and data sources used to develop the ABFE information is available through this report.

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.

ABFE Presentation for the Use of Community Officials
PowerPoint presentation that provides information regarding ABFEs for community officials to use at community meetings.

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

National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP)

This page is FEMA's comprehensive source of information about BW-12 and changes underway to the NFIP due to this legislation. An FAQ and video, in addition to numerous fact sheets and publications are included on this page.

The official website of the NFIP contains a wealth of helpful information for residents, in addition to many outreach document templates for use by communities.

Information about Elevation Certificates 
FEMA's Homeowner's Guide to Elevation Certificates fact sheet and Elevation Certificate webpage provide information about what elevation certificates are (forms that document a building's elevation) and how they are used in relation to flood insurance and building requirements.

This document can be used by homeowners and others to understand the impact of subsidy elimination on buildings with the lowest floor below the Base Flood Elevation as a result of the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act. (Homeowners should contact their insurer for property-specific rates).


This FEMA publication is intended to assist communities in identifying and evaluating a range of potential mitigation actions for reducing risk from natural hazards and disasters.

Recovery advisory bulletins are being developed by FEMA's Mitigation Assessment Team (MAT) studying the damages from Hurricane Sandy. They offer mitigation measures that could be taken to minimize damage to buildings.

The entire series of recovery advisory bulletins is currently available online.

Tool to help state and local officials, community planners, and infrastructure managers understand possible future flood risks from sea level rise and use that information in planning decisions.

This FEMA fact sheet provides information about beach nourishment and dune construction, how these activities affect coastal flood hazards and FEMA's coastal flood studies and how FEMA evaluates these projects during a study.


This fact sheet provides property owners with general information about how to find their property's BFE, next steps to take and several key resources about flood insurance and rebuilding.

Changes in the Flood Insurance Program: Preliminary Considerations for Rebuilding
Document provides answers to questions regarding recent changes to the NFIP as a result of the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act passed by Congress and how those changes to the Program may affect property owners.
This fact sheet provides information on how using recently released FEMA flood hazard data will provide long-term cost savings to property owners.

Recovery Toolkit for Property Owners
Provides answers to common questions from property owners about recovery and rebuilding, and additional resources including fact sheets and helpful websites.

Rebuilding in an AE Zone
This fact sheet provides information for property owners about rebuilding in an AE Zone following Hurricane Sandy and the benefits of building higher.

Rebuilding in a VE Zone
This fact sheet provides information for property owners about rebuilding in a VE Zone following Hurricane Sandy and the benefits of building higher.

Tri-fold brochure provides National Flood Insurance Program information regarding the recent changes to the NFIP as a result of the Biggert-Waters 2012 legislation, how to reduce risk and premiums, and how to manage future flood risks.

FEMA's webpage devoted to resources for rebuilding in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

FEMA Building Science Resources to Assist with Reconstruction after Hurricane Sandy
Factsheet provides a number of resources for property owners to access regarding rebuilding.

Hurricane Sandy Road to Recovery: A New York Homeowner's Guide is a FEMA publication available to inform homeowners affected by Sandy of different options and resources available for recovery.
Developed to assist State and local officials in estimating building value and costs to repair residential and non-residential buildings, this software is available for download at no cost. The reference document Substantial Damage Estimator Best Practices is also available online.

FEMA 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.

Recovery/Mitigation Funding Sources

Increased Cost of Compliance: How You Can Benefit
Tri-fold brochure provides information about coverage availability and how to file an ICC claim.

Unified Hazard Mitigation Assistance Grant Programs
Factsheet provides information on the different grant programs, eligibility, costs, and process for applications.

ReNEW Jersey Stronger
Funding options for New Jersey homeowners are provided through the reNEW Jersey Stronger website. Options include the New Jersey Home Elevation Program funded by the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program which provides reimbursement of up to $30,000 for elevations of existing single family homes in certain counties severely affected by Sandy.

Eligible homeowners who wish to sell their properties damaged by Sandy in tidal areas of New Jersey may take advantage of the Blue Acres Floodplain Acquisition Program, a joint effort of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, the State Office of Emergency Management and FEMA.

Small Business Administration 
Information is available to aid small businesses in recovery from the effects of Hurricane Sandy.
The Federal government's clearinghouse for disaster assistance information for individuals.

Region 2 Coastal Video Library 
Includes videos about coastal flood risk, mapping, flood insurance, disaster preparedness, and Sandy recovery efforts relevant for the communities and residents of coastal New Jersey and New York.
The pages provides comprehensive information about rebuilding and recovery efforts in the State of New Jersey and includes a helpful FAQ fact sheet for New Jersey homeowners.

The State of New Jersey is requiring the adoption of the updated FEMA flood hazard data as the basis for statewide floodplain development standards. This FAQ provides additional information on these state requirements.

This webpage provides USGS data, reports, and updates about ongoing work in response to Hurricane Sandy.

Accessibility Needs
People with accessibility needs may call 1-800-427-4661 to request and receive assistance in identifying and interpreting FEMA flood hazard data for their property.